Thursday 28 April 2016 12:42pm
Postgraduate E-newsletter, Issue 4. March 2009
Thomas Alva Edison, the American inventor who developed the practical electric light bulb, the motion picture camera and the phonograph, once said, "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration," to which he added, "I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident. They came by work."
So why did he carry on, what motivated him? While he was certainly a businessman, something other than success and making oodles of money was driving him — a passion to understand perhaps?
Postgraduate study is a bit like this. After the initial exhilaration of becoming a postgraduate student, ready to push back the frontiers, work at the cutting edge of your field and make new discoveries, the novelty can wear off when you appreciate that some hard and often tedious work is necessary. But, rest assured, the flame doesn’t go out; it is still there to energize and inspire you. Intense curiosity enslaves you and, when you do understand something properly or construct a bulletproof argument, when it clicks, Zap! Pow! Boom! — it’s the best feeling there is. All that work makes it happen and, like Edison, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Hey, and some of us get to carry on doing research afterwards and be paid for it too.
Professor Vernon Squire
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International)
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