PI Quotes 8 – “Laziness is a great quality for a scientist”

Hi all,

After christmas break I dragged myself back to the lab (ok, I was happy to return) and though of  this professor who once told during a master course :

“Laziness is a great quality for a scientist” 

That was a bit unsettling at first, my overall felling being that scientist are in the great majority hard workers (but is it really work ? ;-)). For example, injecting 1400 adult Drosophila‘s today is not an act of laziness !

Actually, his reasoning was slightly more twisted: 

The more lazy the scientist = the less experiment he does

The less experiments he does = the better his choose the good ones to do

And he focuses on succeeding immediately to avoid unnecessary extra replicates or troubleshooting work due to inattention.

Beyond the witticism, there is some truth in the fact that good scientists are always the ones who can choose well the key experiments, and make them look perfect.

So, should we all just be a bit more lazy ? 

Food for thoughts … 


Famous Scientists Quotes – 1 – Chance favors only the prepared mind.

Time for another quote ! This time, not from a contemporary PI, but from one of my favorite scientist (a review of a biography will come up at some point) : Louis Pasteur !

When casually talking with your fellow PhD’s, I’m sure you often end up saying that what make the difference between an average PhD and and great PhD is a little bit of chance. I have to say I don’t fully adhere to the idea, and to support it, here come the quote of the day :

“Did you ever observe to whom the accidents happen? Chance favors only the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

I would fully agree with this statement. A talented scientist had always to be ready for chance, and should be ready to see peculiar little results as interesting, rather then “missed experiment”, “background noise”, “variability”, “outliner”, and so on … Great discoveries were made by people who knew how to look at data scientifically, and who were prepared for chance. I think it’s a crucial point.

Moreover, I would like to add this one : “When you work seven days a week, fourteen hours a day, you get lucky.” – Louis Pasteur

That’s even more true. Success always ends up being tightly conditioned by work. I do not believe a second that talent, chance, or fate are ever enough.

Hum … food for thoughts, right ?