06 July, 2009

A Proposal

PROBLEM: At conferences and meetings of scientists, it is difficult to differentiate the academic ranks of the various attendees. This greatly complicates politeness and increases the risk of disrespecting a big shot who will then sabotage the entire rest of your career for your unwitting slight.

SOLUTION: Conference attendees shall wear hats, with the fanciness of said hats increasing as their academic rank increases.

Undergrads = berets of various colors (by lab or school)
Grad students, pre quals = Fezs
Grad students, post quals = bowlers
Post-docs = tri-corner hats, add 1 feather to hat/successive post-doc
Profs w/out tenure = princess cone hats, add 1 sequin per publication
Profs w/ tenure = princess cone hats w/ gauze streamers, add 1 sequin/publication
Departmental chairs = fruit baskets with real fruit
Journal editors = appropriate hat + bling
Techs = top hats, fancier ribbons indicating greater experience
Lab managers = fedoras
Core facility staff = cowboy hats
Journalists = cat-earred head bands


Ambivalent Academic said...

I love it!! But can we swap the bowlers and fedoras? Fedoras are much more becoming on this post-qual grad student.

Becca said...

What about scientist bloggers? Do they have to add cat ears to their hat?

Toaster Sunshine said...

I think we can manage to switch those hats for your sake. I'm sure lab managers won't mind so long as they don't wind up stuck with Fezs.

Good point. We're not exactly journalists, though, so how about a fancy tassel instead?

microbiologist xx said...

LMAO! What I wouldn't give to attend a conference where a significant portion of attendants are wearing princess cone hats. I'm not sure I could pull off a tricorner hat, but I'd be willing to give it a shot.

Ktbug Ladydid said...

I'd enjoy these parties much more if I could wear a fanciful hat. Not to mention, you can look forward to your next promotion more, and plan your new accoutrement!

Anonymous said...

Right, my little corner of the science world is currently hatless in your scheme and I can't let that stand. So, I'd like to suggest that all the scientific curators out there get to wear jesters hats complete with bells. Many scientists have no idea we exist so we need hats that will draw attention.

Juniper Shoemaker said...


"Add one sequin per publication . . ."-- lol.

Maybe, one day, I'll have occasion to wear a princess cone hat with my Edwardian tea gown to a conference.

Anonymous said...

But that'd ruin the fun I gain by speaking to everyone from distinguished famous profs down to the lady serving the tea in the same tone and watching people look on in horror because "he's Professor Sir So-And-So FRS and a mere mortal is daring to call him by his first name!!!".


Cath@VWXYNot? said...

What, no pirate hats??!! Add one parrot per Nature/Science/Cell paper, maybe?

Oh, and what about grad students from countries with no quals system?

Toaster Sunshine said...

OK, then. Grad students from countries without quals may wear pirate hats.

Sure, you can have the jester hats. The bells will let the rest of us know where you are at all times.


It'd make for more interesting talks, maybe keep the greybeards from letting their egos out too much. Although they'd probably find something else to brag about, like how their sequins are of a high quality.

Democracy in action here on this blog isn't putting much weight on your fun. I'm sure that adoption of this practice would take time to spread to all conferences, so don't interpret it as a sudden end to all of your fun.

It's not required that your attire match your hat, but hey, if that's what you wish to do then I'm sure no one would stop you. Because, I mean, what exactly goes with a Fez of fruit basket hat?

Anonymous said...

You, sir, are fucking awesome.