From October 26, 2001:
There is such a thing as too much nerdiness. Oh yeah, just roll your eyes at me–I’m at Tech, the center of nerdom–but I’m not kidding. There are those people who keep asking annoying questions in class, but it’s worse when they’re actually not asking a question. They’re just rambling about what they think they know. And the professors just nod and smile and privately think, “Stupid kid.” This gets worse with graduate students.
This appears to be universal. It’s extremely bad when graduate students who think they know it all start arguing with the professor. (Argument is good–constant agreement is a sign of complacency–but just to argue to show off your brilliant “deductive” skills is just plain egotistical. Yes, I know you read a gazillion papers each week, but I do too and I don’t claim to have an encyclopedic knowledge.)
On the other hand, maybe this egoism is a product of a brilliant mind. Perhaps my observations only give more evidence that I am only average. There are plenty of bright scientists out there who are, shall we say, a bit unhinged.