Saturday, January 12, 2013

Friday Night Dinner Report: Baseball vs. Science

A low-key Friday night dinner, in which we didn’t even bother to set the table, but perched on kitchen stools and ate out of bowls and drank wine out of emptied nutella jars.  I made mushroom-barley stew, peas-warmed-in-butter (peas have just come in season here), and salad. Conversation centered around criteria for excellence, with a comparison of what it takes for baseball players and for scientists to achieve their respective high status positions: hall-of-fame/national academy.

Baseball Players
Extremely specialized: narrow and physical
People with many different combinations of skills and talents can achieve excellence
Peak young
Many possible trajectories: some peak young, some later, some consistent through long career
Highly competitive field
Competitive, but easier career entry than baseball
Strong temptation to partake in performance-enhancing drugs
Science is fueled by coffee, Adderall, Ritalin, alcohol, and a host of antidepressants
Talk about baseball puts me to sleep
Talk about science is interesting and fun!
Lots of scientists love baseball
Not sure how many baseball players love science

Then we ate the rest of the sugar cookies, finished the chocolates, and watched Volcano, the 1997 movie starring Anne Heche as a geophysicist and it was fun to watch our favorite parts of our city get covered with lava.

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