And so it has very little to do, frankly, with the particular person getting the award. What the award represents is a process that involves interactions amongst many, many people. And the end, one person ends up getting the award. It's really important to try to acknowledge that and understand the fact that really everything that happens in science, including the discoveries that people try to acknowledge by awards, are really the products of this confluence of people's histories and people's interactions. I really believe that science gets done by people with average abilities and talents, for the most part, and when something special happens, enough so that people want to acknowledge it with an award, it was really…in large part…luck!
We try to say to the public, here's an award for somebody who's really, really special. But actually, it's not the somebody who is really special, it's the science that is special. The way we do science, and the way it works is so amazing. I wish non-scientists would better understand this. That science is a community exercise, that it involves people interacting, that it involves a lot of good fortune in the context of people trying to do something really carefully and following curiosity. That's why it works so well!
Words to live by!