Thursday, January 31, 2008

Structural wars

A computational biologist, an NMR spectroscopist and a crystallographer went to the races. The computational biologist whipped out his laptop, opened a couple of program windows and exclaimed, " i've found out the outcome of this race! The horse named gonio stat will win. I have run a simple simulation of the entire thing with all variables taken in good account. Gonio stat will win by many lengths."

Needless to say, the NMR spectroscopist and the crystallographer disapproved and questioned.

The NMR spectroscopist narrowed his eyes and said, "how can you say you have everything accounted for? Did you account for the track conditions? what if the track is muddy?"

"Thats a good point". said the computational biologist. he quickly modified his codes and parameters and observed the results. Gonio stat's position in the race was negligably changed. He still seemed to win by many lengths.

The assured NMR spectroscopist quitely placed a 50 buck bet on the horse and went away.

The crystallographer persisted. In his traditional crystallographic worries he stated, " i am still not convinced. have you accounted for wind currents and humidity and rain?"

"Hmmm. thats a good point too." said the computational biologist. He modified his codes and parameters and rechecked his results. The position of the horse barely changed and he still seemed to win the race by many lengths.

The crystallographer was still reluctant. however he placed a 100 buck bed on gonio stat and hoped that it worked.

All the calculations were now done and the bets were in place and the race began. Needless to say, gonio stat had an impressive start but as the race went on he lagged and slowed and fell far behind every one of the other horses. He was behind all of them by many lengths. The race ended with gonio stat on an obvious last place.

The the crystallographer and the NMR spectroscopist were furious. "we believed in you! you said you had taken everything into account including the track and weather conditions! how did this happen?!!!" They demanded to see his logic.

The computational biologist began with a smug smile, "first assume a spherical horse...."

-posted on my lab entrance