Indiana-Kentucky Border Local Section

February Cartoon

The incongruity of the reviewers’ comments with the criteria that one thinks should govern the evaluation of a paper or proposal is what makes the cartoon funny.  But, as is always true in Sidney Harris’s cartoons, there is another message under the surface:  Perhaps scientists should embrace the “broader audience” of their papers, or the “outreach” criteria of the granting agencies more openheartedly.  Nothing in the nature of the world or the understanding of scientists would be damaged if humor and suspense were allowed to enter scientific papers.  Gatekeepers relax!

The incongruity of the reviewers’ comments with the criteria that one thinks should govern the evaluation of a paper or proposal is what makes the cartoon funny.  But, as is always true in Sidney Harris’s cartoons, there is another message under the surface:  Perhaps scientists should embrace the “broader audience” of their papers, or the “outreach” criteria of the granting agencies more openheartedly.  Nothing in the nature of the world or the understanding of scientists would be damaged if humor and suspense were allowed to enter scientific papers.  Gatekeepers relax!

-- Roald Hoffmann, Cornell University 

 

 

 

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