Scientist Who Laid Ground Work for Nobel Prize Drives a Bus, Can't get a Job

He was laid off from his job at NASA, and couldn't find another job as a scientist. In order to support his family, he took a job driving a courtesy van at a Toyota dealership in Huntsville for $10 per hour

From a local story I've heard way too many times, this scientist isolated the gene which caused Jellyfish to glow in the dark.

His grants ran out and he handed over his research to 3 scientists who won the Nobel prize. The prize winners acknowledged they could not have won without his original research.

There are multiple things wrong with this story, the first being that this scientist is driving a bus. The second is why were his grants cut for this raw research and the 3rd is why was he not included in the Nobel Prize winners?

Unfortunately these stories are more common than people realize and most Professionals are too restrained as well as embarrassed to tell their stories even when they are sent to the metaphorically as well as back of the bus!

Here is an interiew with Douglas Prasher, the Scientist stiffed on not only recognition money, but his very own livelihood. Just goes to show how ethics no longer pay:

When you're using public funds, I personally believe you have an obligation to share. I put my heart and soul into it, but if I kept that stuff, it wasn't gonna go anyplace.

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But big business says there's a skills shortage ...

More evidence that the big business cries of "skills shortage" to Congress are a lie.

Congress must commission an unbiased study on the number of unemployed or underemployed college graduates with a degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

Next, they should show the results of this survey to every young American who is considering the huge investment to obtain a college degree in one of these fields.

But big business says there's a skills shortage ...

There is no skills shortage. Manufacturing has lost over 5.5 million jobs now over the last decade. These people are of all skill sets semi to highly skilled. These folks simply do not vanish into thin air. Us workers are the best educated and most productive in the world, and we have some of the best universities in the world cranking out grads every year.

I have point blank asked these whiney employers on other boards such as Industry Week's to define exaclty what skills are short - especially given all these un and underemployed mfg engineers and techs? they can never give a straight answer. And what skills are short that these folks can not be retrained for? no answers

What it boils down to is that these employers want skilled workers, even though those skills may not even really be needed for the job, but they do not wish to pay accordingly nor do they want the reponsibility of retraining workers to do other tasks. Its all a big smokescreen

Phoney skills shortage

I heard there was such a study authorized and funded by Congress. An agency within the Commerce department did it and
the Bush administration kept it under wraps....

You mean that $335,000 200-page report that was classified?

That's affirmative. It was done by the Technology Administration within the Dept. of Commerce, a 200-page report costing the taxpayers $335,000, a study on the impact of offshoring on US high-tech jobs which we, the taxpayers, were only allowed to view a highly biased 12-page summary proclaiming little to no effect upon the American employment picture by the offshoring of American jobs.

This was brought to light by the economist Paul Craig Roberts some time back. Of course, with this "incredibly transparent Obama Administration" (sarcasm intended), no doubt Commerce Secretary Locke will take time from his busy schedule of signing all those waivers, exempting American multinationals from using fed stimulus funds to offshore further jobs, to address this issue and finally make this 200-page report public.

OK...just being facetious about it being made public.

in addition

The House Science Committee demanded to release the report, which finally under pressure some Republican voted with them and finally got a draft which was useless.

It was clearly a front to claim they were "doing something" but they were out to claim...with taxpayer money, it all was just fine.

Your government at work for the public interest (this was the Bush administration).

Education is for losers

The statement I make above seems to be true as although being educated I am a loser and its obvious to my young son who, sees the obvious hypocrisy in my extolling the virtues of education.
How can I demonstrate the truth without obviously lying to my own son when I tell him he must keep up his grades and go to college when he sees me at home, unemployed and helpless to do anything about it.
But I have degrees, and experience and therefore is perfectly logical that companies used to respond back (this no longer happens) that I am OVERQUALIFIED.
Come on! I am not that educated that endowed with special talents that I am overqualified. I would say i'm pretty under qualified for what i understood to be the required levels of education necessary for respectable positions in industry etc.
In fact up until the early 90's this seemed to be true and I could provide for my growing family and not worry about how am I going to survive or pay for a simple home repair or any other expenditure beyond a few hundred dollars, without sacrificing my survivability. SURVIVAL....but the government (yeah of the people, for the people and what was that last one ..? by..or lies to the people?
Lies yes..more and more swill from them whose serves which has become an acronym for those who have their hand in the till and our stimulating foreign economies.
Money does not have any borders and so you see they will benefit from more jobs in india whereas we poo folk who lives in this country can't find work!
SO they government has earned an honorary BS.

I am going to rant and rave because this has effected me personally and I am increasingly incensed at the debate when its clear as day as we see and hear and touch those whose lives and livelyhood destroyed by those, representatives?

I am commenting on an opinion stated on this blog purporting that the government is lying to us about there not being enough skilled workers to fill job vacancies presumably in technical fields:
When issues strike home they become personal and when the governments actions effect me at home then I become personally involved because the government is hitting me where it hurts the most: The pocket book let alone my self respect.

With over 30 years of experience in a wide range of disciplines and two degrees in the sciences you would think I would have businesses calling me up and begging me to take a job.
The cold hard reality is that I get zero responses from my resume, zero responses from my phone calls, zero responses from my webpage advertising my skill set on the internet.
Now if the government is not lying then .... well the government is just plain lying.
Needless to say there are no jobs for technically competent people and what jobs there are I am as well as many I know; that I am over qualified!
How can that be if there is a lack of trained skilled and educated individuals?
Further the almost cruel hoax is in trying to justify to my 14 year old son that he will find gainful employment through education.
Its that apparent when he sees me becoming increasingly frustrated and disenchanted; spending my days desperately trying to find employment but always with the response:
"We no longer have our facilities here in the US".
OR "most of our manufacturing is now down overseas"
"We just have a small office here in the states and all of our research, development and manufacturing are done elsewhere"

So this is personal and this is about the government selling our economic vitality , actively and openly , selling our economic vitality and future to foreign governments.
I even heard a politician state that , in effect, how can we expect them to cut carbon emissions if we can;t provide them with jobs.
This to me is treason because it is helping a country that is philosophically and ideologically opposed to this country and to democracy.
But then again I am angry and I tend to be that way whenever someone strikes me at home, strikes me so that it hurts and it creates concern and real fear that my future has been compromised and that my son's future is all but forgotten during the exchanges and deals made without our knowledge by our duly elected representatives.
Not one to become outspoken about politics - there is a time to act and if we do not act now there may never be a time to act because we will be too busy trying to survive and people too busy with the details of survival do not have the time or energy to actively stand up for their rights.
That, we all know, is the perfect time for new leaders to emerge who promise us what we are desperate for and as we are lead away deluded we remain unemployed, disenfranchised and more and more helpless as those in power gain more and purchase still more with the lifeblood of this countries wealth.
I know I sound angry and probably irrational. But there is no logic to what is happening its pure and unmitigated greed and abuse of power by those in government.
As long as we pretend and allow those in power to lie to us we are at fault and so we need to stand up and demand accountability.
Who are we but the people to continue to take this crap from the government?
So yes more lies...statistics about unemployment only being 10-12 percent yet we see tent cities...we see more and more of the obvious.

The truth is too painful and as we reel from its sinister implications we lose more ground and more jobs and pretty soon its all academic because there will not be any country to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. Which by the way is what our REPRESENTATIVES are supposed to defend that document..what is it called..
constipati.. constitution!
if there are any organizations that put the government to task on this where are they?
Information is the key to freedom by lying to us they take our freedoms away


Yes, they are lying

esp. in claiming there are not enough high skills/educated in the U.S. There is actually a glut of PhDs and that is before this recession.

On your resume, and the overqualified bit, frankly if you need $$, just make up a dumbed down resume and lie. I know that's absurd but the goal is just pay bills, get a paycheck and just match the resume skill level for the job. i.e. if you're applying for "web development" just put down education level, not what degree it is and leave off all positions that are more advanced....going for Home Depot (they hire overqualified unlike other places)....

I love education at the higher level, assuming the institution and professors have integrity, which is also seemingly falling apart, so I wouldn't knock education as a general rule, just that employers are full of it in claiming they want "advanced" skills.

Comrade Poulson Nationalizes Banks

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Burton Leed

stealing research

Science is politics. Unfortunately this happens daily. Either you are from an "in group" and receive favorable reviews, grants and publications or you are regarded as an outsider, interloper or one who must first "pay the price". Clearly douglas was on to something. His publication history with GFP goes back to the early 90s and he forsaw back then the tremendous potential of this protein. Douglas even saw that by altering tyrosine and/or serine residues, properties of the fluorescence could be modified to make this an even more effective tool as a fusion protein. The Nobel Prize Committee really dropped the ball this time. We need to call them on this for the prize is awarded by the very cronies who have won before and infect all of research with their bias. After 27 years of medical research at the University of Chicago I found myself an unemployed researcher. It took me over 1 year to find another job at much less salary and loss of retirement benefits from the U of C.


this isnt so big news or something
i dont wanna be rude or something, but he is not the only one, just like people who were managers in the employer companies not are begging for food.

Well this is a recession,

Well this is a recession, I'm sure this guy will bounce right back once the economy turns around, especially with a resume like his.

no, this is not recession related

this is related to labor arbitrage, which has been ongoing, he couldn't get a job before the recession.

Remember all of that stuff about outsourcing, trade, displacing workers, age discrimination?

All of that is BR - before recession.

Labor arbitrage

It isn't just manufacturing. There is no shortage of talent globally. While McDonald's can't outsource burger-flipping in Detroit, globalization has reached far into the service sector. I just finished organizing a scientific review panel and was impressed by the large numbers of productive physicists, geneticists, engineers, and computer scientists who have their PhDs from University of Beijing, and much international collaboration was taking place. I keep reminding my school-resistant nephew that someone in China or India wants his place at the table. This is serious business, and it's not going to stop.

Frank T.

Frank T.

they are arbitraging at the PhD level

You can see this in Post Doc salaries (unreal, sometimes in the 20k's for research) due to unlimited H-1B, J-1, F-4 (or is it F-1) etc. Visas...

And recently U.S. corporations literally offshore outsourced massive advanced R&D in chemical and pharmaceutical research.

So, expertise is seemingly becoming a disposable commodity these days.

The more things don't change...

I haven't looked at post-doc positions recently, but they tend to be low-paid -- but in the 20K range? That means no growth.

Frank T.

Frank T.

higher education generally

is beyond the pale low. RA/TA stipends are below the poverty line in many cases...
this would make a great blog post if one does a little statistical research, for there is very little light shined on Academia when they are in fact very active in wage repression and global labor arbitrage.

Am I in this world which

Am I in this world which honors and values people for what they are? How can it be? Such a great scientist who used to work in NASA, how can he be treated like that?? I am asking, everyone, can you give any explanation of that? How mean it is! He needs to work for hourly just $10 rate! I feel ashamed for being a part of this nation who maltreated such a great man.

Sharon Carson