Monday, July 27, 2020

A Scientist Makes an Unexpected Discovery [22]

"What's that you've got there, Dr. Johnson?" Dr. Reeves adjusted her glasses. Dr. Johnson held the folder close to her chest.

"I know it's unlikely, but I think I found a way to subvert telomere decay during cell division and cell replacement without a parallel increase in cancer risk," she said.

"That's astounding April! The fountain of youth!"

The informality of the outburst caught the younger woman by surprise. While it wasn't popular in the lab, Dr. Reeves' insistence on titles and 'last names only' created a sort of professional skeleton her team could latch onto. Even with a major mistake or a finding so crude it'd never be accepted by a journal, one was always 'doctor' or 'professor' or the like.

When Dr. Johnson recovered from the fact her boss actually knew her first name, she was able to stammer out some cautions and caveats. They'd have to expand their research to primates. They'd have to bring in an outside analyst. They'd have to ask another lab to duplicate the results - a finding like this needed o be double verified before the press caught wind.

Dr. Reeves took all this in stride. It was a good thing to be cautious, but quite another not to be confident in the research one had done. Granted, it was a finding in test tubes and in mice, but there was a lot to be said about even pushing those boundaries. Dr. Johnson was instructed to be proud of herself.

"Do you think I should publish right away?" she asked.

"Yes, absolutely," her boss confirmed. Then the gut-punch followed. "Just be sure I'm listed as first author."

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