Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

Olivia Goes On Sabbatical

I want to wish Olivia Judson well on her year off and on her book project. Science lovers everywhere will miss her. Enjoy her last column before her certain triumphant return. This resonated with me:

For me, ideas are capricious. They appear at unpredictable (and sometimes inconvenient) moments — when I’m in the bath, falling asleep, jumping rope, talking to friends. They are also like buses — it’s never clear when the next one will come, or how many will arrive at once.


But having an idea is one thing; developing it is another. Some ideas look great from the bathtub, but turn out to be as flimsy as soap bubbles — they pop when you touch them. Others are so huge they can’t easily be treated in 1,500 words or less, or would take two or three months to prepare. Still others — luckily — are just right. But I don’t usually find out which is which until I begin to investigate them. 

(image from 

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