To pay tribute to the 2020 Nobel Week, I'm writing this simple guide for every student whose towering ambitions know no limits. I tip my proverbial hat to you, my unfettered reader, for even daring to consider this undertaking. With enough perseverance and – let's face it – sheer craziness, you can win a Nobel Prize. Do I have to stress how amazing that would be?
Given that you are still reading my article, you need little convincing that the prestigious prize is worthy of your time, brain matter, and teeth skin. So, without further ado, ahead is advice from the brightest scientists and actual Nobel prize laureates.
Try, But Not Really
It's remarkable how many aspiring scientists structure their careers around the sought-after reward. As a 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine holder, Richard J. Roberts argues that you should focus on your career instead. Instead of trying to win the prize, worry about having a satisfying professional life and making a few discoveries along the way. If you are lucky, you will succeed in both undertakings.
Fail Your Way to Success
Your experiments are bound to fail. And that's okay. God knows I had a fair share of failures in my life, so I can only imagine the rate of failures among scientists who conduct experiments. Roberts states that sometimes experiments fail because "dogma in the field is wrong." If that's true in your case, you might stumble on something praiseworthy or shall I say prizeworthy?
Like any collective activity, science is all about collaboration. That's what makes it fun, frankly. Also, by bringing a different perspective to your problem, you can significantly increase your chances of solving it. That's being said, you have to be extremely careful about choosing your collaborators. Otherwise, you might have competitors in your pursuit of a cherished Nobel prize.
Get Born in The Right Family
Don't neglect this important rule. After all, seven winners of the prize have parents who were winners themselves. Take, for example, Marie Curie, who won a Nobel prize in physics. Her daughter claimed a reward 32 years later. The same applies to Lawrence Bragg, Roger Kornberg and many, many more. With the total number of winners being only 586, the number of relatives is remarkable. Therefore, there is a solid reason to be a son or a daughter of a Nobel prize winner. Don't miss your chance.
Occupy a Previous Winner's Lab
I can imagine it's pretty inspirational. It's also where the evidence points to. A great example discussed by Beryl Benderly is the Medical Research Council laboratory. The famous facility in Cambridge fostered as many as 9 Nobel Prize recipients. Among them is Fred Sanger, who got not one but two Nobel Prizes. If that's is not amazing, I don't know what is.
Occupy a Future Winner's Lab
Well, if you can predict the winner of a Nobel Prize, that surely merits a reward. But even if you are wrong, having the right mentor – one who will provide you with correct research assumptions – drastically increases your chances of success.
Go and Get Some Luck
Eleanor Wang reports that many Nobel Prize winners attribute some of their success to luck. So if you are to make your dream a reality, don't discount the importance of luck. You will need to finish college (either that or online writing help), and you will need it to win the prestigious prize in the realm of science.
Don't Be Obsessed
Don't become obsessed with a Nobel Prize to the point where it controls your life. There are scientists who have managed to delude themselves enough to prepare acceptance speeches and responses for interviews. Instead, it's better to be taken by surprise with the prize than to wait all your life for it only to be majorly disappointed in the end. Also, under no condition should you pester current laureates to nominate you. Simply don't do it.
Don't Be a Meany
It's not unheard of for a prize to be delayed just because a nominee has a bone to pick with a Nobel Committee. A case in point is Peyton Rouse, who had to wait for 55 years for his nomination. So whatever you do, don't be a meany and don't pick up a fight with the wrong Swedish person.
For one thing, biology is a fascinating discipline; for another, the odds of hitting it big with biology are much higher than for any other discipline. Also, there are not one but two Pulitzer Prize categories in biology, which raises the odds of fulfilling your dream by 50%.
So, how do you win a Nobel Prize? Just follow the aforementioned advice and try to make a breakthrough discovery. Easy-peasy.