Our previous post was a bit unusual for STC, the transcription of a talk I had given a few weeks earlier. First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to Christoph who proposed the idea for that post. Let me also elaborate on the ending of that presentation, where I build the metaphor of beautiful drops of dew hanging on leaves, drops that eventually reach the ocean, to symbolize the relationship of our individual contributions to the totality of microbiology (or science, for that matter). The idea, of course, is to remind us to keep our work in perspective. Fascinating and important as we might think it is, our individual work is but a minute part of the whole of knowledge. This is by no means my original idea; it is a thought inspired by the words of Isaac Newton. Many decades ago, I was struck by these lines, which he wrote to describe his life's work:
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
That from the guy who, among many other things, formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation, helped develop calculus, and developed a theory of color. His words are certainly worth considering at all times, whether we're feeling down after a failed experiment or ecstatic upon the publication of a paper.