Friday, June 25, 2010

Remember Erick Carreira?

Well, I do. As you can see, he can be extremely classy.

I had him for Chem 41b (second term of organic chemistry). His lectures were very good and he did bring hydrocarbons to class for us to sniff (though I just got dizzy), but he can apparently cross the line. It's fine to be hard-core, and I remember how he was very annoyed when somebody got a 98 on one exam (and it was a hard exam; the rest of us did much worse---he should have been happy that there was somebody who had mastered the material to that extent), but there are also lines that one shouldn't cross. I myself am a demanding supervisor (I think that is very important), but I think that I am also a reasonable one. Neither the request nor the tone of that letter are even remotely reasonable.

Also, some of you might remember that there was a certain professor who went ballistic and crashed through Caltech's giant black plastic maze during my junior year. My memory is hazy now, but I'm pretty sure that was Carreira.

Update: It is important that I add the following note that I just got from Julius Su: "To be fair, I heard Carreira knew he'd gone too far with that letter soon after writing it, has been embarrassed by its wide circulation since, and that he and Guido patched up quickly and remain good friends to this day." This is very good to hear.

(Tip of the cap to Stephen Shepherd.)


Stormrider said...

what do you expect from a guy who (according to his ETH page) has named his lab after him. All the professors I met who've done something similar are all jackasses.

Mason said...

You'll get no argument from me that Carreira is a jackass.

However, I actually have met professors who named their research groups after themselves who are not jackasses---or at least not jackasses to their colleagues. (I was never part of an individual's research group as either a student or a postdoc, so I can only really go with the colleague perspective when it comes to personal accounts.)

And I definitely can think of other examples where what you say holds true...