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A Prof's Life

Afshan Jafar is displeased with what she perceives as a common notion that academic professors have "an easy life," and don't truly work full-time. "Just the other day somebody, not in academia, talked at length about how my situation is ideal: I only work a few days a week and have the summers 'off.' To add insult to injury, he concluded with comparing my job as a full-time tenure-track professor to having a part-time job with flexible hours," Jafar says in an Inside Higher Ed blog post. She goes on to explain that while all of her "non-academic friends can take a break to watch 'Jersey Shore'" at night should they wish to, she must make use of the time between her children's bedtime and her own to mark "stacks of students' papers, [keep] up with the readings, or [prepare] for class for the next day." Plus, given her research and service commitments, most of her "summer and winter [breaks are] spent catching up on my research and even some on-going committee work." Since research and service are both intangible concepts, she says, many people outside of the ivory tower cannot fully comprehend the time that they take."Conducting research, applying for funding, or pursuing publication" can be especially time-consuming, Jafar says, adding that she largely associated the public's perception of a professor's lifestyle with "the corporate model becoming the standard, even in academic settings."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.