Skip to content


“No bucks, no Buck Rogers.”

– Gus Grissom, as quoted in Tom Wolfe's “The Right Stuff

But while that maxim is true around here, and at labs and universities in general, the polarity is reversed for staff – no Buck Rogers, no bucks. Staff exists to support scientists who bring in the money from which the overhead is skimmed that pays their salary. If scientists can't do their work because of (insert your favorite annoyance here) policies, then — no Buck Rogers, no bucks, no overhead to pay staff…

This is often ignored. It's weird how the perception becomes that the scientists work for the bureaucrats, and not the other way round.

I mean, we do. We're bad at management, so the scientists who start these institutions set up administration to do the grunt work. Then the admins start hiring new scientists, and it seems like they're in charge. So do scientists have agency, or are we a cash crop, or herd, to be managed in order to bring in money to pay staff?

That's a subject for another time.