December 12, 2010
I know that science is riddled with failed experiments, many of which are actually informative (and some great discoveries were made through "mistakes"), though mostly unpublishable. I take most experiments that don't seem to work out actually pretty hard- especially ones where it's hard to conclude much from except that I've messed up somehow. The pressure to make progress and get results is intense, not to mention the expensive nature of many experiments these days and the focus on the short term grant cycle vs. long term arcs that larger scientific stories and progress tend to take. I'm not sure how to deal with all of this very well. I can go back and try an experiment again of course, I can not be a hyper-perfectionist, and I am really working on trying to enjoy the process of science and rise above the stress of it all. All easier said than done, of course. I know science is of vital importance, but the practice of it is often highly psychologically stressful.