Field of Science

"A Fred Sanger would not survive today's world of science."

Somehow I missed last year's obituary for double Nobel laureate and bench scientist extraordinaire Fred Sanger by Sydney Brenner in Science. The characteristically provocative Brenner has this to say about a (thankfully) fictional twenty-first century Sanger:
A Fred Sanger would not survive today's world of science. With continuous reporting and appraisals, some committee would note that he published little of import between insulin in 1952 and his first paper on RNA sequencing in 1967 with another long gap until DNA sequencing in 1977. He would be labeled as unproductive, and his modest personal support would be denied. We no longer have a culture that allows individuals to embark on long-term—and what would be considered today extremely risky—projects.

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