A friend at NPR pointed me to this fascinatiing story (read or listen): A Biologist’s Listening Guide to Bacteria. A scientist discovers how bacteria talk to each other so they can adapt their behaviour according to whether they are alone or in a group. When you learn that cholera bacteria only create toxins whey the reach a quorum, you glimpse the potential value of the work.
It’s also interesting that she believes self doubt is what keeps a scientist sharp.
And that’s the best kind of scientist because they’re filled with this self-doubt. And if I’m going to be honest, that’s who I am. And it’s what drives me. It’s a terrible part of my personality. Nothing’s ever good enough, I’m not smart enough. This is part of my mantra. I need to work harder, and if I were only smarter, I could help them with their struggle better.”