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.”
Author: Keith Humphreys
Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.
View all posts by Keith Humphreys
13 thoughts on “Best Academic Article Title Ever?”
…or maybe it’s the other way ’round.
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.
Or a classic old saw about “generalists” vs. “specialists.”
That’s exactly how I heard it.
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 clichÃ© 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.
Honorable mention should go to “So you think your mother is always looking over your shoulder?–She may be in your shoulder!”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=12640367 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.
Recent speculation is that this phenomenon may explain higher Alzheimer’s rates in woman who have had children:
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.
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.”
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.”
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” — YogiBerra
I’d be shocked if Yogi Berra ever actually said this.
Some Guy On The Internet says the earliest known citation is to “remark overheard at a computer science conference” in a textbook by Walter Savitch. I think that means Savitch probably gets the prize.
Of course, the question is, known to whom?
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