Friday, May 12, 2006

Signs that you're in a good lab

5. Advisor refuses serve fewer than three kinds of meat at parties.
4. All documents in lab filed stratigraphically (i.e., in piles).
3. Door propped open with small piece of Earth's crust.
2. Cabinets full of prehistoric monsters.
1. Lab door--yes, door--gets shout-out in the Berkeley Science Review.

Issue 10 of the BSR, the one you've seen sitting in piles around the building for the past few days (er, except for you non-Berkleyans, who constitute a significant fraction of my tiny readership. That's what I get for recycling e-mails as blog posts), has a story touted on the cover as "Berkeley vs. Intelligent Design." Naturally, Kevin is prominently featured in the article. A bit unnaturally, so is our admittedly awesome door. Here's the revelant text, with my comments in brackets:

Stepping into the Valley Life Sciences Building can be like taking a walk back in geological time. Archaeopteryx--one of the pit stops on the evolutionary road from birds to dinosaurs [Whoops! Maybe that road had some switchbacks...]--greets the visitor from a large glass case, its death throes immortalized in a limestone block. Further on, Pteranodon swoops in low over T. rex, majestically holding sway over the entrance to the UC Museum of Paleontology.

A quick trip up three flights of stairs and a more familiar realm again emerges: long, austere hallways filled with offices and labs and research posters. But while the evolutionary trip from the Jurassic to the present day may have been just as quick and easy from the perspective of Mother Nature, it only takes a glance at the clippings on the office door of Kevin Padian, Professor of Integrative Biology and Curator of the Museum of Paleontology, for a reminder that, from the human perspective, the journey has been littered with endless controversy, politicking, and rancor. Articles on the "merits" of teaching different viewpoints in science. A Bruce Springsteen quote from the pages of Esquire: "Dover, PA--they're not sure about evolution. Here in New Jersey, we're countin' on it."

And perhaps most significant, a small sticker with a drawing of Charles Darwin that reads "Charles Darwin, 5'11", 163 lb., has a posse."

Yes, it's true. Even when we Padianites are out of town, out to lunch, or just passed out, our lab door continues to fight the good fight.

The article includes an image of the Darwin sticker. Get your own here, and soon your lab door may also enter the annals of greatness.

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