5-Jan-07 (Created: 5-Jan-07) | More in 'Humanities Current'

Attacks of hoplessness, depression, and discouragement

The life of a physicist is marked by "attacks of hoplessness, depression, and discouragement"

-leon lederman

The complete quote

Physicists today feel the same emotions that scientists have felt for centuries. The life of a physicist is filled with anxiety, pain, hardship, tension, attacks of hopelessness, depression, and discouragement. But these are punctuated by flashes of exhilaration, laughter, joy, and exultation. These epiphanies come at unpredictable times. Often they are generated simply by the sudden understanding of something new and important, something beautiful, that someone else has revealed. However, if you are mortal, like most of the scientists I know, the far sweeter moments come when you yourself discover some new fact about the universe. It's astonishing how often this happens at 3 A.M., when you are alone in the lab and you have learned something profound, and you realize that not one of the other five billion people on earth knows what you now know. Or so you hope. You will, of course, hasten to tell them as soon as possible. This is known as "publishing."

Leon Lederman, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question? (with Dick Teresi, 1993)

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