Best Academic Article Title Ever?

By Professor Kenneth John Aitken in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences:

“Clinicians learn less and less about more and more until they know nothing about everything; researchers learn more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing: Discuss.”


  1. Ed Whitney says

    Not a title of a journal article, but an old saying:

    Surgeons know nothing and do everything; internists know everything and do nothing; psychiatrists know nothing and do nothing; pathologists know everything and do everything, but one day too late.

        • Adolphus says

          Exactly. I once heard it on an episode of Love Boat when doctor played by the government guy from Six Million Dollar man was disparaging the career choices of Doc played by Siegfried from Get Smart. So it was cliché in the 70′s.

          Next thing you know this blog will highlight a gastrointestinal article called “Up their noses with rubber hoses.” Okay, that would be cool.

  2. Ed Whitney says

    Honorable mention should go to “So you think your mother is always looking over your shoulder?–She may be in your shoulder!” shows that this is a real article. The topic was fetal-maternal microchimerism, in which maternal stem cells may be transferred across the placenta to the developing fetus, where they can multiply and become cells of the individual after birth. Transfer via the placental circulation can happen the other way too, and often does; there is evidence to suggest that women carry cells from each pregnancy, term or not.

      • Ed Whitney says

        All very interesting stuff. People have been suggesting that the association between pregnancies and Alzheimer’s disease had to do with estrogen/progesterone levels during pregnancy. This particular study did not find an association between microchimerism and Alzheimer’s, and so does not really present evidence contrary to that hypothesis, but the numbers were small. It would help if technical obstacles to the detection of X chromosomes from female fetuses could be overcome, but from the sound of it the probes for Y chromosome material are what researchers currently have to work with.

        Not that any of the other article titles were any match for the title of Keith’s original candidate.

  3. Dennis says

    One of the professors who set my doctoral comprehensive exam told me, “Earning a doctorate is the process of learning more and more about less and less, until in the end, you know everything about nothing at all.”

    After I had completed the exam, he said, “Enjoy this feeling. You will never know as much about statistical science generally as you do right now.”

    • Ebenezer Scrooge says

      My advisor put it a bit differently. “Your Ph.D. is your only chance in science to finish a project. All other projects you will merely abandon.”

  4. priscianusjr says

    “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” — YogiBerra