I’ve tried to be as general as possible, but there may be some very minor spoilers in this post for people who aren’t as far through the A Song of Ice and Fire series as I am (I’m about a third of the way through A Feast For Crows). So be careful.
Please feel free to add your own contributions to the list – but please, NO SPECIFIC AND/OR MAJOR SPOILERS!
IF GEORGE R.R. MARTIN WAS A SCIENTIST:
- All lab members would bear the sigil of their PI on their lab coats
- The exact style of each author’s lab coat and gloves would be described in great detail in published manuscripts
- Any tenured Professor could grant Assistant Professor status to students and postdocs who perform well in gruelling presentations and conferences
- Plagiarism, data fabrication and other forms of scientific misconduct would be punishable by DEATH, with the sentence to be carried out by the first person to fail to replicate the original findings
- Your favourite cell lines would be trypsinised just when you thought they were going to start yielding solid data; however, it would be possible to revive some lines from frozen stocks
- The identity of all clonal lineages would be inferred from empirical observation, rather than via rigorous genetic testing
- Some scientists who work with model organisms would be able to describe some of their findings from the model’s point of view, giving them an unfair advantage over other labs. This would be especially true of Canadian and Northern European labs, who would gain a further advantage by using transgenic diremice.
- The shortcomings of the top glamour-mag lab in the sub-field would be described to you in great detail upon joining a new lab, making you hate them with all your heart and hope that someone else manages to scoop them. However, a few months into your project you would start to read some of their papers and learn that they actually have some really nice data, leaving you conflicted as to which lab you would like to see publish in Nature
- There would be so many gene, protein, organism, method, and cited author names in each manuscript and grant that you would have to constantly refer to an Appendix in order to keep things straight
- Each successive Aim in grant and fellowship proposals would become gradually more complex, dependent on the successful recall of the previous Aims, and reliant on magical thinking
(N.B. Two or three of the above scenarios may already be in play)
BONUS GEEKAGE: IF J.R.R. TOLKIEN WAS A SCIENTIST:
- Approximately 5% of every manuscript and grant would be in the form of lengthy and (let’s face it) deathly boring verse or song lyrics. Most reviewers would simply skip these parts and move on to the meat of the text instead, but a significant proportion would just give up and go and read something else instead.
This may well be the geekiest thing I’ve ever written, by the way.