Time is on my side

I was just talking with Catherine, and we can’t remember if “a week in the library will save you a day in the lab” or if “a week in the lab will save you a day in the library”? I guess if you’re starting a new project, maybe it’s best to set up a whole bunch of experiments to see what works (steering clear of the dogma you’d find in published papers). But if you’re nearing the end of a total synthesis, you probably want to play it safe with your milligram/sub-milligram quantities of your natural product and spend a bit more time in the library trouble-shooting problems…

What about other quotable quotes? Was RB Woodward right (“A scientist has to work very hard to get to the point where he can be lucky.”) or was Ralph Waldo Emerson right (“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”)? (The Google fight results are closer than you’d think…) Is time on your side or does time pass more quickly as your Ph.D./post-doc progresses?

What do you think/what’s your scientific philosophy? Does it match up with the prevailing philosophy of your lab? What other quotes (or song lyrics) come to mind when you think about the last six months of your scientific research?

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to set up a poll on the blog, so we’ll have to do it the old fashion way – please leave us a comment with your thoughts…


Joshua Finkelstein (Senior Editor, Nature)