The modern academic fields (for example the sciences, literature and philosophy) have a competitive culture, that is individuals and groups strive to achieve better results, a wider audience and higher profile. Individuals compete singly, in research groups, departments or even entire universities.

There are a number of ways an individual can achieve well: they can write and win grants; they can publish good results (for example Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton); they can publicize/popularize others work (for example Stephen Jay Gould or Charles Darwin); alternatively they can be part of a big research group (for example the Manhattan Project, the Apollo project or CERN); as a last resort the can join a famous university but in a department/faculty that's not strong (for example English literature at MIT).

So individuals must compete on all these levels, in an environment that claims to stress collaboration and knowledge transfer but in which all parties are doing their best to beat their collaborators and hoard knowledge. The ultimate prize in academics in the Nobel prize, which are awarded annually, but only to those who are too old for the prize to do their career any good. Second rank prizes include the Fields Medal in math and the Turing Award in Computer Science; although these are known to everyone within the field, they are known to few lay people.

The competition is fairly cut-throut producing many burnouts and academic charlatans

This was originally written as a The Nodeshell Rescue Team production, but then i noticed that the Nodeshell was spelled wrong, so i created a new one for the writeup.

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