So You Got A Scientist, Part I: Care and Feeding

Why get a scientist? If you are a technical company, your meetings with other companies will involve many kinds of hooey. You are probably very good at business hooey, but you may have found that the technical hooey your engineers provide is not sufficiently intimidating, or that your consultants' hooey is too expensive. An in-house scientist can provide you with a never-ending source of exotic nonsense. Your task is to direct this enthusiastic fountain of physics fanfiction to create products.Upon arrival, your scientist will inspect your facilities and then probably request large sums of money. Money is a regrettable necessity, but some care is called for here. Scientists have been known to use money to dig giant holes in the ground and fill them with rows of oddly shaped metal objects, like clay soldiers in a Chinese tomb. The best approach is to suggest that the scientist personally build whatever he needs. This may be met with some grumbling about technicians and machinists, but trust me, he does his own oil changes. Scientist are professional dilettantes, having just enough manual skills to get by in almost any activity. Restrict him to the McMaster-Carr catalog, and you won't go broke.Ta-daa!


  1. I've been using McMaster-Carr as my default sources for dozens of mechanical items for years now. I remember when their massy catalog (appropriately golden-colored) was like the Birkin Bag - always on backorder, & if you had one, you wrote your name on it in big letters & guarded it jealously. But that's no longer necessary now, because they have an online catalog that is simply the best, most searchable source of products I've ever seen. With loads of specs & technical information - you can spend days just reading the technical parts (because - ahem - I'm not a scientist, so there's a lot of tech stuff I never learned...)

    My boss became a fan of Mc-Carr over the course of a recent major project. He could cruise the website, email me requisitions, I would compile them into an order & next morning - BOOM - a box is at your door. Ya gotta love that.

  2. McMaster rocks. My boss signed a req yesterday and I found the part on my desk today at noon.

    But we have a special deal with MSC, so we're supposed to use them. We don't have to fill out requisitions. But our purchasing dept collects the orders until Friday and puts them in all at once. I won't get the MSC parts I ordered yesterday until next Tuesday. How special is this deal again? Special as in short bus?

  3. This is a great post - the battle of hooey is always a requirement.

    I don't know how anyone ever accomplished anything without McMaster-Carr! I think they might actually teleport the items to you.