I was at a formal award dinner being put on by a heavily endowed foundation. Not my usual venue, let me stress. Scientists had flown in from around the country to honor the medal recipient. The honoree, in his mid-seventies, is highly distinguished; someone who is a serious contender for a Nobel Prize. He is clearly well-beloved. His unusual acceptance speech was all about others.
He is a professor at one of America’s very best universities, but one with a dearth of female faculty, which is why he’s still saying in public what no doubt is largely said just in private today – or so I imagine.
So with perhaps 200 or 300 people there, he introduces some of the people who have accompanied him. His wife and family, colleagues from his famous institution, and finally the one postdoc who had also come. There had been a video of him with his students in his labs. She, the postdoc, was, he said, the good-looking one in the video.
Just to state the obvious: Given she is a postdoc in a famous lab at one of the very top places, then she must also be extremely intelligent/brilliant, hard-working and dedicated. All such qualities he had attributed to other people.
And then, just to cap it all off, I had to explain to jj-partner just what a shame it was that this young woman was so introduced to a room containing many of the stars in her profession. On reflection, I may have the only one who noticed, other than the young woman.