What well-dressed riffraff are wearing this season

When early-career scientists gather at one of the proliferating Future of Research (FOR) conferences in the coming months, they can now make simultaneous political and fashion statements thanks to the new “Riffraff” line of T-shirts being offered by futureofresearch.org.

Offered in a range of colors more flattering than McKnight’s words, the all-cotton unisex version is appropriate for wear under one’s fire-retardant lab coat.

The shirt immortalizes the 2014 comment by Steven McKnight, president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, that “the average scientist today is not of the quality of our predecessors; it’s a bit analogous to the so-called ‘greatest generation’ of men and women of the United States who fought off fascism in World War II compared with their baby boomer children. Biomedical research is a huge enterprise now; it attracts riff-raff who never would have survived as scientists in the 1960s and 1970s. There is no doubt that highly capable scientists currently participate in the grant-review process. Likewise, unfortunately, study sections are undoubtedly contaminated by riff-raff.”

Offered in a range of colors more flattering than McKnight’s words, the all-cotton unisex version is appropriate for wear under one’s fire-retardant lab coat. At just $15, it also fits a postdoc’s budget. The more stylish men’s and women’s tri-blend styles ($20) are perfect for adding that geeky touch so de rigueur at journal clubs, seminars, and Berlin’s finest nightclubs (or so we hear). And with the offer expiring 2 June, they have that element of exclusivity that all fashionistas crave.

All T-shirt proceeds go to support the forthcoming Boston FOR meeting, so riffraff from all fields can do good while also looking good. You can order your shirt, or just marvel anew at McKnight’s statement, here.

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