Ever since there have been scientists, there have been those who are wildly successful, publishing one well-received paper after another, and those who are not. And since nearly the same time, there have been scholars arguing over what makes the difference.
What is it that turns one scientist into more of a Darwin and another into more of a dud?
After years of argument over the roles of factors like genius, sex and dumb luck, a new study shows that something entirely unexpected and considerably sudsier may be at play in determining the success or failure of scientists — beer.
According to the study, published in February in Oikos, a highly respected scientific journal, the more beer a scientist drinks, the less likely the scientist is to publish a paper or to have a paper cited by another researcher, a measure of a paper’s quality and importance.
The results were not, however, a matter of a few scientists having had too many brews to be able to stumble back to the lab. Publication did not simply drop off among the heaviest drinkers. Instead, scientific performance steadily declined with increasing beer consumption across the board, from scientists who primly sip at two or three beers over a year to the sort who average knocking back more than two a day.
Actually, I think there may be other factors. My current situation means that I can not afford beer and I’m publishing as frantically as I can to try to keep my job.
But then there’s this:
Moderate drinking may actually improve brain power, according to Japanese research.
It is thought that an ingredient of alcoholic drinks may help prevent or restrict the hardening of the arteries which could lessen blood flow to the brain.
However, there are other factors linked to moderate alcohol consumption which could also be linked to improved IQ.
The researchers, at the National Institute for Longevity Sciences in Aichi Prefecture, near Tokyo, tested the IQs of 2000 people between 40 and 79 years old.
Men who drank less than 540 millilitres of sake or wine a day had an IQ 3.3 points higher than men who did not drink at all.
Women drinkers scored 2.5 points higher than teetotallers.
So is booze good for you or bad for you? I’m so confused. I need a drink.