James D. Watson, double helix wizard
"To succeed in science, it is not enough to be smart -- lots of people
are very bright and get nowhere in life."
To have success in science, you need some luck.
But to succeed in science, you need a lot more than luck. And
it's not enough to be smart -- lots of people
are very bright and get nowhere in life. In my view, you have to
combine intelligence with a willingness not to follow conventions when
they block your path forward.
- The first rule: To succeed in science, you have to avoid dumb people
... you must always turn to people who are brighter than yourself.
- My second rule: To make a huge success, a scientist has to be prepared
to get into deep trouble.
If you are going to make a big jump in science, you will very
likely be unqualified to succeed, by definition.
- ... third rule: Be sure you always have someone up your sleeve who
will save you when you find yourself in deep shit.
- fourth rule: Never do anything that bores you.
My experience in
science is that someone is always telling you to do things that leave
you flat. Bad idea. I am not good enough to do well something that I
dislike. In fact, I find it hard enough to do well something that I
- So my final rule: If you can't stand to be with your real
peers, get out of science.
... here's the truth: It is very hard to succeed in
science if you don't want to be with other scientists.
Last modified: Mon Aug 5 12:30:42 MET DST 2002