You'd Prefer An Argonaute

Exceptions

Posted in Lab Life, Science Journalism by YPAA on January 23, 2011

I don’t read many science blogs these days, but one I definitely recommend is Carl Zimmer’s The Loom. He recently dug up and posted this gem quote:

If I may throw out a word of counsel to beginners, it is: Treasure your exceptions! When there are none, the work gets so dull that no one cares to carry it further. Keep them always uncovered and in sight. Exceptions are like the rough brickwork of a growing building which tells that there is more to come and shows where the next construction is to be.

–William Bateson, in The Method and Scope of Genetics, 1908

Yes! Yes! Wise words for even the non-beginners, like me. In fact, my current project in the lab grew out of an exception, out of which I’ve built something. And when I think about other projects I’ve watched develop in the lab, exceptions have often propelled them. Behind many of them is a story worth telling, no?

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