In nearly every profession there are superstars. And with stardom comes worship. This happened in industry where people would practically worship upper-management. Like some brainwashed cult members. In academia, the superstars PIs get the red carpet treatment and people lining up to see them. I could just never understand this. I never understood celebrity culture: getting all amped and wanting pictures with this person or that person. Correspondingly, when people would recognize me, I would shy away. I just don’t like the idea of worshipping people. I understand having respect for and wanting to meet certain people, but the worship I’m talking about reminds me a lot of cults. I have plenty of respect for leaders in the field (as researchers), or certain politicians or philanthropists, but whenever I’ve met one I shack hands, have a good talk then walk away. I’m not trying to be cool, I just don’t care that much.
I have nothing against it, it’s just not my thing. One of my students wants to submit for a specific conference because an important person in that field will be there, and he wants to go to “get his picture with him”. Not to network or anything, just get a picture and say they met them once. It’s a good conference, so obviously I’m not denying them if they can get a travel grant, but to me this is crazy. In industry, I would see coworkers try to catch upper management during coffee breaks to just see them. This is all crazy to me. I’ll never understand.