Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for January 5th, 2014

“Luck favors he who wagers the most…”

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Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Thus, it is necessary to trust at least partly in chance, which can be encouraged by repeated series of trials that must be guided by intuition and as deep and accurate a knowledge as possible…

This brings me to the point of discussing the role of chance in the realm of scientific investigation. There is no doubt that accident is a major component of empirical work, and we must not overlook the fact that science owes brilliant achievements to it. However, as Duclaux has graphically pointed out, chance smiles not on those who want it, but rather on those who deserve it. It is important to recognize that only the great observers benefit from chance because only they know how to pursue it with the necessary strength and perseverance. And when an unexpected revelation appears, only they are in a position to realize its great importance and scope.

In science as in the lottery, luck favors he who wagers the most—that is, by another analogy, the one who is tilling constantly the ground in his garden.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator

Written by nevalalee

January 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

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