Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Scientist Soap

We have seen the ins and outs of so many professions revealed through numerous soaps that cover the interesting job profiles of a lawyer, nurse, doctor, journalist, IT professional, cop, and even a chef, I think. Not many professions have been left untouched by this need for on-scene drama. That made me think about why certain professions were left out, like that of a scientist or a research student. Now I agree, it wouldn't be as dramatic and interesting as the hospital shows, where the only patients that come in are dying patients with some kind of a medical mystery (refer to House). Never do they have patients with small and uncomplicated sicknesses. So, lets not fool anyone, a scientist's job profile could never beat that.

But, if there was ever to be a show, how would it be like? There would be a lot of drama for sure. But not the kind, the general public likes to see. The sudden temperature rise in the incubator leading to no microbial growth at all, the poor research students whose lives depend on the life of these microbes, their unfailing efforts to resuscitate the microbes, bring them back to life and get some kind of visible results. Deadlines to be met for getting a paper published, one mistake and you could lose that single opportunity of getting a paper publication, it could mean the difference between a wannabe and accomplished scientist (although these cool terms do not go along at all with the job profile :D). With their, pipettes loaded, waiting with bated breath, to load the gel and hope to find that one breakthrough result, suddenly there is a power outage; now what do they do? It is dark and they are not sure which wells have the sample; one of them runs towards the back-up generator, while the other tries to see where the pipette tip was last seen loading the gel. Dramatic background score, and that week's episode stops there. What will happen next week? Will they be able to recover the gel and have genuine, reproducible results? Will their professor spare their lives? Somebody's gonna get hurt real bad!!!

And of course, the all-essential portion of every soap. Who is linked with whom and the multiple love interests! That would be the most exciting part of the scientist's life. He/she started off work with Influenza Virus A  and has got nothing but love and loyalty from this wonderful virus. But, what about the younger, more confident and smarter strains? How long could anybody keep their hands off the H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2 viruses? Anybody would get attracted to these and be lured to betray their original ally. But, this could turn into fatal attraction. Do you think H1N1 can stand H1N2 being given so much importance? What would happen if all of them came to know about each others' existence? How could the scientist do this to them after all their support in getting papers published? Will they accept this betrayal lying down or will they plot against the scientist and teach him/her a lesson?

With all these dramatic issues revolving around, there is the constant drama of lost time. When you are in a research lab, it feels like time has come to a standstill. There is no need for time travel. No matter how many years have passed, the situation remains the same. Years pass by working on the same project and you still might not have substantial results. It is like time is going against them. What will happen to these young scientists? Will they ever get their youth back? What is the mystery of the youth-eating phenomena? Can they ever get off this island (refer Lost)?

Now, come on, don't tell me all this does not excite you. What could be more dramatic than these scenarios? Who would not want to watch so much drama wrapped up in such innocent looking people? Who wouldn't want to know the answers to these tense, mysterious questions? Who wouldn't want to know why all these people opted for such a career?

I for one, would definitely want to know. But, until someone dares to enter this unexplored arena for a potential television drama, I only have the following words for all the scientists "Hats off". Dealing with so much drama and yet relentlessly working on sometimes unforgiving projects is something ordinary people cannot do. You really are the unsung heroes of the society, who work hard, without expecting much from this commercial world. And, you don't need a T.V. show to prove the worth of your profession . You ROCK!!!


  1. Excellent Article, really enjoyed the read... It was funny to the core... Loved the viral romance... And liked the message you are passing on to the readers through the last paragraph...

    Really amazing, shows that you can write on diverse topics and in diverse ways!!!


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