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    Keely Chaisson said:

    Why does the scientist have to work all night/have no outside life? Um, because that’s how real scientists work! No really!

    I was asked to leave my PhD thesis lab for having “too much of a social life” and “not working enough hours”… I was in the lab at least 6 days a week for a total of 50-60 hours. That was unacceptable, because REAL PhD students work 80-100 hour weeks. I left my program with a Master’s because working those kinds of hours/being required to have no interests outside of lab made me physically ill, but most of the friends I have that remain in the program are in the lab 6 or 7 days a week for 60+ hours minimum. There are exceptions… people with children and/or very nice PIs… but even those people have the good sense to not mention their hobbies in front of other scientists who aren’t friends, because that would be undermining their Real Scientist cred.

    I agree with you that you shouldn’t have to have no life to be a scientist, and that that image will discourage young people from entering the field. That said, the image isn’t exactly inaccurate right now.

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    Clare Andrews said:

    I agree that scientists are generally expected to work long hours and generally do. Is it really a bad thing to open young eyes to this? For an accurate portrayal, let’s give Dr Lego a suitcase, as (s)he can expect to have to move around a lot too…

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    Sergio Lopez said:

    It is increasingly common to assume that if you are a PhD student or a Postdoctoral Fellow you are not entitled to any leisure time. Sadly, it is an assumption that many supervisors make. It has also been endorsed by scientific journals as well. Just take a look at “Following the law”, an article published here in Nature:

    http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7124-228a

    I have heard of supervisors who advise their students and postdoc not to marry. I have also heard of some of them organizing meeting on Sunday mornings. We all know that these things happen. Unfortunately, it seems that if you have a scientific vocation you have to forfeit your basic human rights. If I ever have children I would advise them NOT to follow a career in science.

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    Carolyn Beans said:

    I agree that scientists are often expected to sacrifice their personal lives for their careers. This is an important point to bring to the discussion so thank you for all of your comments. I don’t, however, believe that this is always the case. In many labs it’s understood that people can have hobbies and family and still be successful scientists. If you haven’t already seen it, check out the tumblr “This is what a scientist looks like” for some examples of real people with full lives doing real science: http://lookslikescience.tumblr.com.