Breakthrough in Science

Nuvola apps emailThere is a new, and big ($3 million), prize in science. It is the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. The idea (and money) come from by a number of Silicon Valley luminaries, including Google co-funder Sergey Brin, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.  The prize is in the field of  biomedical research, it aims “to recognize excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.”

Eleven very distinguished scientists are now $3 million richer (one will get her car fixed). One of these is Bob Weinberg of MIT, a very distinguished cancer biologist. Cancer biology is not my field, but his name sounded familiar, I thought I had seen it somewhere, and indeed there it was, in my Inbox. I had an email from him, with the subject line: “You (low grade) morons” – I had kept it ‘cos it tickled me.

I have very little in common with Bob Weinberg, I don’t have $3 million for a start. I also have not played a pivotal role in characterising the Ras gene – the most commonly mutated gene in cancer.

One thing I do have in common with Bob Weinberg is that we were both added (without being asked) to an email list for news from a US-based computational biology centre. In itself this is only mildy irritating, but the email informing us of this fact, went on to imply that in order to unsubscribe we had to create an account, with password, then login and then update that.

I thought that this was a bit much, the recent Breakthrough Prize winner agreed. And he hit reply all. I can get cheesed off by stupid emails like this. I now know I am in good company.