I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes.

This brilliant lesson comes from one of Britain’s greatest scientists; Humphry Davy. Not content with discoverering only one chemical element, Davy actually discovered six (potassium, sodium, barium, strontium, calcium and magnesium). He was given a knighthood in 1812, was made president of the famous Royal Society in 1820, and to top it all off invented a really cool lamp. Despite all his great achievements  the man realised very well how he got to his position of greatness. No one is born great. No painter paints a masterpiece on their first attempt. No musician writes a number 1 straight away. And no scientist gets where they are without hundreds of mistakes along the way. That’s what is so great about the scientific method – it has an inbuilt facility to allow people to make as many mistakes as their like. It is self correcting. For hundreds of years, physicist believed Newton’s laws of motions were absolutely correct. Every good experiment done at the time showed this to be the case. That is, until Einstein came along and showed it actually wasn’t. But, its clear Einstein wouldn’t have got to the place where he was, without the mistakes of his early self, of Newton, and of the hundreds of scientists before. And so it will be continuing on into the future. We should never worry about making mistakes. As long as we have the ability to recognise when we have done, and not to hold on to ideas and theories we know to be wrong, then the achievements of science will grow as long and fast as that of Humphry Davy’s did, back in the 19th century.


Charlie is a science writer from London. He tweets @UnpopSci.

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Posted on in with 3 Comments.


  1. WOW RMT


    私はよく分からない私は知らない私は何をはず | 遭遇私はしていなかったしていなかった場合に行わこのようなスタッフこのような。

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