James and the Giant Corn Genetics: Studying the Source Code of Nature

February 7, 2008

Cold Spring Harbor Lab (Installment 1)

Filed under: University Visits — Tags: , , — James @ 10:31 pm

I’ve arrived in Cold Spring Harbor, and am writing this just after midnight.


Instead of staying up all night to catch a 6 am flight like I did to Berkeley, I was able to sleep in a little, drive to the airport at noon, and take a direct flight to NYC, where I and a fellow student were picked up by a driver waiting for us with a sign and driven out to CSHL. On the plane ride out I was seated next to two Cornell prospective investment bankers who were getting flown out for a sell weekend. (They’ve already been offered jobs and now the banks are flying them out again to wining and dine them in an attempt to influence their decision.) One was a fellow Iowans, which is cool, as there are something like 15 of us at Cornell. (Based on a very old facebook search.)


The first event this evening was a talk about the approach to graduate study at CSHL vs other places. It boils down to, getting classes out of the way the first semester, graduating in four years instead of 5-7, and giving the lucky few who get admitted lots of support in their living circumstances and learning, so that the students can focus on giving 150% to their research. For example the organization provides highly subsidized housing, and if will help you find non-lab housing if you want it, especially if you need room for a partner and/or children. 


Then we were matched up with our individual graduate student hosts and went out to dinner in a number of small groups. Mine was 50% current or former Cornell students. The highlight of dinner was a dessert called “King Kong,” which featured chocolate cake in the shape of the empire state building, lots of vanilla ice cream, strawberries, and sparklers. I wish I’d gotten a picture of it.


Came back to the CSHL bar and had a chance to grill grad students more thoroughly. Note that several of the grad students were running back to labs to set up, run, and image gels between beers.

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