Nullius in verba

When a group of “natural philosophers” got together to found the Royal Society in 1660 – now the oldest scientific society in the world – they chose as their motto a Latin phrase meaning “Take nobody’s word for it.” In today’s episode we talk about the role of trust in science. Trust can mean many things, and we talk about its tension with scientific verifiability, people’s desire for trusting relationships and culture in their field, and the practical value of trust in doing our work. Plus: A letter about whether pressures to fit the mold of a job description or graduate program lead to impostor syndrome. Simine and Sanjay debrief on the ARP conference. And Alexa asks what’s more intellectual, poker or chess?


The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, or on Facebook at You can email us at You can subscribe to us on iTunes.

Our theme music is Peak Beak by Doctor Turtle, available on under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution license.

This is episode 10. It was recorded June 12, 2017.