Here’s Richard Webb interviewing Peter (“Higgs boson”) Higgs on the occasion of his receiving the “1851 Royal Commission medal for outstanding influence on science” at New Scientist:
What would your advice be to someone who has your sort of esoteric interests?
Go undercover. I wasn’t productive in an obvious way; I didn’t churn out papers. I think these days the University of Edinburgh would have sacked me long ago, there’s just too much competition. So now I would say, do it in your spare time, and get yourself a solid publication record in the sort of thing that gets you recognition more readily. More.
Higgs has noted this before: Higgs boson discoverer wouldn’t get a job today? “He doubts a similar breakthrough could be achieved in today’s academic culture, because of the expectations on academics to collaborate and keep churning out papers. He said: “It’s difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964.”
The rest of the interview is, alas, forgettable toffdom from an otherwise brilliant man.
See also: How come “publish or perish” didn’t touch Fred Sanger?
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