Monday, October 5, 2009

Just follow your nose!

Something refreshing for a Monday morning: this Reuters News from Stockholm by Nicholas Vinocur:
Three Americans won the Nobel prize for medicine on Monday for discovering and identifying telomerase, the enzyme that renews the little caps on the end of chromosomes whose natural fraying underlies aging and cancer.
That's not too earth shaking. But I was encouraged by the comments of Carol Greider, one of the three, who said the Nobel prize recognized the value of discoveries driven by pure curiosity. And

"We had no idea when we started this work that telomerase would be involved in cancer, but were simply curious about how chromosomes stayed intact," she said in an emailed statement.

"Our approach shows that while you can do research that tries to answer specific questions about a disease, you can also just follow your nose," she said.

Just follow your nose! What a refreshing and profound advice for doing scientific research. I am sure that more sagacious and enlightened comments will be developed later on, but I think this her immediate reaction will still be most most natural, candid, and ingenuous -- and not at all affected by the stinky political correctness. In the present state of our research system, alas, there is absolutely no room for "pure curiosity" researches to enable anyone to follow their nose. Don't the "answer specific question" kind of research reminds you of standing on a street corner? (No apology for those who might be offended by this question. Hey this is a personal blog written for my own enlightenment first of all, and thank God this is still the U.S. of A, where we are all endowed with certain unalienable Rights by our Creator. Please feel free to find other blogs to read to accommodate your own discernment. Of course, it's easy for me to say because I am retired. It was the overwhelming feeling of that last question that led me to finally decided to retire! )

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