[Computational Complexity] Egos Needed
I've often heard that scientists have unusually big egos. I don't disagree, egos are a part of being a scientist, a great motivator for us. I still love that feeling when a paper gets accepted in a conference, when someone mentions my name in a research talk or a paper, or that rare moment when the popular press picks up on our research. Even that quiet feeling of self-satisfaction when you find your own solution to a difficult but already solved problem. That need to feed the ego keeps us producing results, trying to please our peers. For better or for worse, it keeps us from doing weird research that no one will understand or follow.
Use your ego for motivation but try to not let it affect your outward personality, difficult to do in a community of strong egos. Sometimes our community even rewards those whose brag about themselves, if they can do so convincingly.
Egos vary dramatically. There must be scientists out there who work purely for the love of science, but I have yet to meet one. And then there are those on the other end of the spectrum. Several years ago, Stephen Wolfram came to Chicago to introduce Mathematica 2 and said "First there was Euclid, then there was Gödel and then there was Mathematica."
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 9/22/2005 10:31:00 AM