27 and a PhD

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Random thoughts. Thought #1

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.


January 2011
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If you’ve known me for a while you know that I am a very random person. But since not many of you know me in real life, you didn’t know that, right? I’m very random. The way I walk, the music I listen to, the way I start or end conversation, my thoughts. All have a certain degree of randomness. Since I have so many of these thoughts I’ve decided to start sharing them with y’all.

The first one is … do PIs fart in their office?

I know, right? You’re probably looking at the screen right now thinking, WTF? Where the heck did Dr. 29 come up with that?Who thinks about that stuff? Me, alright? Me.

One of the thoughts that pops into my head sometimes is, well, you know, that PIs are human, they have a life outside the lab, their offices, the department. This means that they have the same needs, wants and bodily functions as other living creatures.

I fart. And so do you. And don’t deny it. After you’ve had too much Tex-Mex loaded with beans. After eating from that dingy place down the street. If you have a stomach ache or some sort of intestinal problem. We all fart. It’s a biological function. Yes, even girls fart. I’m sure Paris Hilton farts. Obama? Farts. Glenn Beck? Farts. The Queen? Farts. They all do. And so do you.

What brings this to mind is that, as people who work under the wing of the PI, we have to go into his/her office a few times a week, or maybe a day. When I was in grad school I probably went to the boss’s office 2 or 3 times a day, especially during crunch time or thesis writing-time. Lucky for me, it was never stinky, even when the boss was eating while we were discussing a new research-strategy or debugging a script (boss always brought homemade, vegetarian/vegan food so it was never stinky, plus I don’t think boss ate tuna, yuck). Boss’s office was also a closed-door one and separate from the lab. Because we had so many computers and backup equipment, the lab was noisy, so any “funny” sounds were muffled.

My current boss’s office shares a wall with my office. I can hear if a pen drops, if paper is shred, and when he comes and goes. Which brings to mind …. if the boss had stomach/intestinal issues, and needed to fart, would I hear it? Is he mindful enough of the lack of insulation that he keeps them inside? If so, does he ever release them? That would lead to a serious stomach ache. And what about “leaking” gasses? No seriously. Because my office is always open and it is shared with students who need to hand reports and grades back, I’d never even dream of farting. A former student admitted to going to the cold room and releasing the intestinal pressure there.

So, if I may ask, have you ever pondered the same? If so, was it because of something you or a labmate or PI did? Have you ever had the “privilege” of hearing your boss or immediate supervisor fart? To me it would be a bit uncomfortable. I remember that hon was visiting once and had to go to the bathroom. He said that just as he was about to wash his hands one of my committee members came in and released some of his inner-most noxious gasses like it was just business as usual. Hon couldn’t look at the guy’s face for the longest time. I guess that the PI didn’t realize that the BF was still there or something … but it was awkward for the BF and super hilarious to me. I wonder if I’d lose a bit of respect, or at least, inability to keep a straight face in front of the boss for some time. What about you?




  1. I haven’t contemplated my coworkers outgassing, but I was thinking a lot about farts this weekend:



    • Dr. 29 says:

      AWESOME!!! Your kid is brilliant! Brilliant!!! LOVE it. I posted the link on Twitter … this is too awesome not to share :-). Thanks for visiting!

      • Actually, it’s Cherish. My normal blog is cherishthescientist.net, but I’ve been trying to separate some of my personal stuff from everything else I write. πŸ™‚

      • Dr. 29 says:

        I noticed that but was a bit confused. Thanks for the follow and I love your kid’s comment a LOT. Kids say the darnest things.

  2. Alan Marnett says:

    There’s a reason PIs close their doors randomly throughout the day- and that reason was most likely a burrito.

  3. John S. Wilkins says:

    Yes, PIs fart, but their farts are deep and profound.

  4. Pharm Sci Grad says:

    Oh the timing… PI let loose a tiny one in lab meeting/journal club TODAY. Obvious it was PI, while PI was talking, and no one said a thing. It was hilarious how we all totally heard it and completely ignored it!!

    PI’s got some guts to just keep talking like nothing ever happened, so got to respect that. It wasn’t uncomfortable, just strange…

    Never thought about it before today, but now… πŸ™‚

    PS: I ❀ random!

    • Dr. 29 says:

      Hahaha, wow. Seriously? That is CRAZY! I think that because we are their subordinates it would be just weird to tell them to … ahem … we noticed them passing gas. Crazy and funny … as long as you didn’t get the stench accompanying that gassy sound πŸ˜‰

  5. My first PI a female must have lost all bowel control and ripped ass in front of me and some other members of our lab. My buddy and labmate, Peter, jumped up and was shouted, “Dude I knew it. Girls can fart too.”

    This guy believed that for 19 years girls didn’t fart. I worked with fucking idiots.

    • Dr. 29 says:

      Oh Lord …. I’ve met a few of those guys who think that some bodily functions don’t happen to girls. It’s made for hilarious conversations. Thanks for visiting, GR!

  6. rpg says:

    Hah! The sudden door closure? This explains EVERYTHING.

  7. gerty-z says:

    Don’t fart in the cold room. The air re-circulates. You should go somewhere with ventilation.

    • Dr. 29 says:

      That was what I thought when my friend told me!!! I was like, “you know, if someone uses the cold room after you, they’ll know you just released a gassy mess.” She laughed. I watch out for her if I have to do too much stuff in that cold room. Thanks for stopping by Gerty πŸ™‚

  8. I once, without thinking, farted in an elevator on campus when I was by myself. Of course, just after release, the elevator jolted to a stop and more passengers loaded on. Haha, the look on their faces… it was foul.

    • Dr. 29 says:

      Oh goodness … that’s my worst nightmare right there. I’m always scared of doing that. Wow. I wish you had recorded the expressions on their faces. Priceless … but cold ;-). Thanks for visiting!

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