Adam Spencer, Sydney University’s first Mathematics and Science Ambassador, has penned an article imploring students, researchers and grant givers to have patience when seeking their Eureka moment.
In his article, Adam has highlighted a number of recent cases in which researchers waited up to 20 years for their work to be translated into practical, or publishable, applications. Expectations that research immediately translate into applicable methods are thus detrimental to the field as a whole, setting unrealistic and poetically damaging ideals for the future of STEM research within Australia.
In 1990, for instance, Brain Schmit set about trying to determine how quickly the expansion of the universe was decelerating, and instead won a Nobel Prize in 2011 for proving the exact opposite – that the universe would in fact to continue to expand indefinitely.
Adam’s article is notable for highlighting the sense of urgency within the industry, and for perceiving the merits of seemingly “slow” research practices for the sake of future discoveries. “We must beware short-sightedness in decision making,” he writes. “We’re only benefiting now from research decisions made 20 years ago. Similarly, a knee-jerk reduction in research dollars now would damage the scientific work in the pipelines for decades.”
Lead image via Adam’s personal YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/user/AdamBSpencer