Friday, May 01, 2009

Stimulants in Academia and Research

Baseball manages to keep steroids steadily in the news. Analogists will ask, is there a steroids problem in academia? An article in NYer digs deeper into use of neuroenhancing drugs in schools. And further, like pro sports, is there steroids use (sans coffee) in the highest echelons of research? Away from sensationalism, here is a research question: should we not be prepared for Erdos-like prediction of aliens demanding Ramsey numbers, and for sake of humanity, invest in research on steriods for brains? The point is steroids for sports produces one record, some good moments for the fans, and large $s for TVs, but humans move on to anticipate the next record. Steroids for science on the other hand may have more lasting impact. No, I am not advocating steroids, or proposing we produce monster brains that would read the NYer without savoring it. Just wondering if there is a utility function here.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mention "steroids" for the brain and Erdos, in the same post, can't resist from posting this
"Erdös' friends worried about his drug use, and in 1979 Graham bet Erdös $500 that he couldn't stop taking amphetamines for a month. Erdös accepted, and went cold turkey for
a month. Erdös' comment at the end of the month was "You've showed me I'm not an addict. But I didn't get any work done. I'd get up in the morning and stare at a blank piece of paper. I'd have no ideas, just like an ordinary person. You've set mathematics back a month." He then immediately started taking amphetamines again.



10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, though, maybe researching it would be useful, but for any statistical study you would have to make amphetamines legal for researchers. :-)


10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi D,
I like the approach of a social experiment at scale rather than the limited lab development I implicitly had in mind. :)
-- metoo

6:19 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home