Greybeards an endangered species

I was very late to the game on a DrugMonkey post last week examining the demographics of Early Career Award winners from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Drug noted that only 9 of the 50 awardees are women:

So who got lucky? See the slideshow here.
huh. anything strike you? no? lemme get a pencil here….hmmm.
2 African-American looking guys, another maybe. Six Asian guys. Maybe another four or five men who look other than standard model white guy. Nine women.
Really? That’s the best you could do? Seriously? You couldn’t even that gender ratio up even a little bit better than that?

As one might suspect, the reasons for the predominance of mostly white guys drew a comment thread approaching 100.
But nowhere in the thread did anyone mention (until I did), another trend that struck me upon viewing the awardees’ photos.
The paucity of male facial hair.
I am deeply concerned that of the 41 men, a full 33 sport no facial hair. I’m being generous here in giving the dude with the soul patch a pass. Including him and the single-moustached guy among the eight bearded, only three were goatees. (Great facial hair style guide here).
How can a man do legitimate science without at least a goatee? From where will our future greybeards come? Have we gone mad?


12 thoughts on “Greybeards an endangered species

  1. Boy is there egg on my face for missing this obvious problem. Way to spot it Abel! I just don’t know what is wrong with these kids these days…

  2. I thought when the National Academies calls you up they give you the secret formula for growing your own greybeard was in the welcome packet, along with a drug to provide you with the unshakable conviction that “things were better in the old days”.

  3. Maintaining one’s beard must obviously put one at a competitive disadvantage; that’s a lot of grooming time that could be better spent thinking!

  4. Fear not. The pendulumn swings both ways…though the way it’s swingin’ these days favors the youthfully narcissistic and androgynous middle.
    It only takes a brief exposure to classical sculpture of the Greeks and Romans to encounter the overpowering instinctive response our species has to a fierce visage set-off by a spectacular mantle of white or gray beard, bristling with energy. It says to our inner monkey “this guy must know something to be old enough to even grow one of them things”.

  5. Happy birthday!
    Do you think there is discrimination against chin whiskers, or does that disparity simply reflect prevalence in the population.

  6. you’re right! i was surveying the room at a recent lecture, and found that only TWO of the attendants (admittedly, a small group) had any facial hair at all. we’re on track to lose a major demographic!
    ps, happy belated birthday!

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