The snake whisperer

May I present to you: the oldest lab member (not in terms of his actual age but in terms of his membership in our group). The one and only teaching octopus and snake whisperer: Emanuel.

Emanuel Barth

Who is your favourite scientist and why?
I’ve never really been the personality cult type, so I can’t answer the question. But I appreciate everyone who contributes openly, honestly and constructively to the general progress of science.

How would you describe the perfect job? Would it be the same if money is not an issue?
Well, I love to work my mind and I love to teach people, so science is pretty close to being the perfect job for me.
And if money wouldn’t be an issue, I would try to help to solve mankind’s more urgent problems.

What was the most naive thing you thought about science?
For me, it was a shock to learn that most publications are not free and how corrupt and broken the whole journal and peer-review system is.

On what topic could you give a 30-minute presentation without any preparation?
Puh, that’s a hard question. Probably too many topics not to be called a smartass. Here is a small lexicographic-sorted selection:
aging, bioinformatics, fantasy worlds, molecular biology, my cat, narratives (and their role in human cognition and society), programming, python (the language), pythons (the snakes), RNAs, science fiction worlds, statistics, video games

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
That totally depends on my mood, but I really love to spend time with my wife, or go climbing. But also nerdy stuff like preparing/playing pen&paper games or playing computer games.
So probably a perfect day off would be a combination of these things.

What should never be missing from your fridge?
Hm, I’m not so fixed on particular food or beverage. But I enjoy having a cold Fritz-Cola now and then.

Is your glass half full or half empty?
I always try to keep it completely full. Sometimes I spill something but then I just refill it.

How old would you like to become?
Old enough to say that I’ve seen everything and I’m ready to move on. However, I don’t think that will happen in the next couple of thousand years. There is just too much to explore.

When was the last time you climbed on a tree?
About two years ago, if I remember correctly, and yes I fell down because a branch broke off, but luckily I didn’t hurt myself.

What are you currently learning?
Swedish (voluntarily) and a great deal about bureaucracy in the public sector (involuntarily).

What do you think everyone should try at least once?
Being intelligent and reasonable. Particular the latter one.

If you could create a new invention, what would it be?
Definitely the fountain of youth.

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
Warning: We could not find anything really bad about this person, but can be brutally honest sometimes. This seems very suspicious to us!