Illustration by Angelika Manhart

My Biggest Goof…

Mistakes—and failure—are an intrinsic part of the scientific experience. These collected essays are in response to the prompt “My biggest goof in science occurred when…” They involve mishaps large and small, all of which played a crucial role in shaping the intellectual and emotional resilience of the developing scientist.

My Biggest Goof...

Bad Timing

By Alex White

Something wasn’t right. Every time I pressed the button, the computer responded twice, spitting out two lines of text instead of one. I triple-checked my code, confirming that I had only written one command for the computer to display the words “button pressed.” So, what then? Was I accidentally pressing the button twice, somehow? The […]

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My Biggest Goof...

Fire in a Teacup

By Aditi Nadkarni

The year was 2004 and I was on my way to becoming a PhD candidate. I had just joined the laboratory of my choice and felt like I was on the verge of making my first big splash in science. The Toledo Blade, the city’s leading newspaper, had just interviewed Phil, a senior graduate student […]

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