Stupidity and failure

23 09 2016

— these were the fun topics of our journal club on Monday.

“The importance of stupidity in scientific research” is a lovely little essay that resonates with many grad students. I just wish he hadn’t called it ‘stupidity’, as being overwhelmed by what you don’t know is forgivable ignorance and not remotely stupid. But I like the message of the piece.

Our other read was a bit more “Disney-esque”: failure just makes you better (etc). Sadly this is not always true: sometimes failures are just miserable screw-ups with no positive outcomes at all. And I really hated the ‘pots’ example: if I rewarded students for writing as much as possible, the results would be ghastly. But the emphasise on dogged persistence, and the subtle mixed of perseverance and flexibility it takes to get something right? Love it (thinking of the 17 pilots it took Danielle to stain our mouse brains, as just one example of many many many from my group).