The two-body problem

Scientific research is an exercise in failing. Imagine you have to overcome an unknown obstacle course – it is already hard when you can see what you are doing (and where you are going). Now imagine doing that in the dark! This is what most research is like. Many attempts to explore beyond the edge of human knowledge, where we are in the dark, are simply doomed to fail. There is hope though: each failure teaches us a little bit more about the obstacles we will encounter. Bit by bit, more experiments and failures light the way. Until eventually, we happen upon success. Then we write a paper about it, and hope the reviewers agree with our definition of success. A career in academia thus requires dedication, luck, and an unfailing ability to get up after falling down. Most of all, it requires time: time to learn, to struggle, and to do good science.