Science and Beer

Damn, there go my aspirations of being a well published scientist.  According to a story in the NY Times today anyway. 

Of course, that’s assuming that I had earned any credentials as a scientist, and that I had any aspirations to publish whatever scientific work I was doing at the time.   Since I am (at best) a layman who is familiar with mainstream scientific thought (and the scientific process) I don’t think this applies to me.

According to the study, published in February in Oikos, a highly respected scientific journal, the more beer a scientist drinks, the less likely the scientist is to publish a paper or to have a paper cited by another researcher, a measure of a paper’s quality and importance.

It’s important to note that the study doesn’t blame beer drinking for not being published in scientific journals.  In fact it says:

More important, as Dr. Grim pointed out, the study documents a correlation between beer drinking and scientific performance without explaining why they are correlated. That leaves open the possibility that it is not beer drinking that causes poor scientific performance, but just the opposite.

Or, as Dr. Mike Webster, an ornithologist and a beer enthusiast at Washington State University in Pullman, said, maybe “those with poor publication records are drowning their sorrows.”

In spite of his study, Dr. Grim, who said he would on occasion enjoy more than 12 beers in a night, is not on a campaign to decrease beer drinking among scientists. Why not? His answer: “I like it.”

I’m with you Dr. Grim, so I think I’ll have another beer and look for another story that irks me tonight.  If I don’t write about it, you can blame the beer.


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