The one and only scientific method

In martial arts dojos practitioners often revel in guidelines, rules or proverbs that some ancient or not-so-ancient master has coined. When I spent time in a JKA karate dojo we would recite the dojokun after every session: Seek perfection of character! Be Faithful! Endeavor! Respect others! Refrain from violent behaviour!

In science –where everybody strives for novelty– the inclination to repeat ancient lore is less pronounced. And so I was surprised to find the lab rules of the Noyes lab in the Lewis-Sigler Institute at Princeton.

Some of their rules are a bit clichéd, like “Dream big” or “2 is more than 1“, and some are too specific for my own research, like “Always run a ‘no insert’ ligation control“. Also, the whole thing is a bit tongue-in-cheek, I’d guess.

But the very first rule they list got me all excited, because it is the closest thing I have ever seen to a unifying principle underlying all of science:

If it sounds like more work, it’s probably the right thing to do.

From now on, after each and every groupmeeting, I will make everybody in the lab recite this gem of scientific wisdom.


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