How’d They Do That?
“It was my habit before undertaking any scientific research project to conduct an exhaustive literature search so as to know the full extent of past work, positive and negative, and to uncover leads for future research buried in the literature.”
- David Nalin, Made the key discovery that led to Oral Rehydration Therapy
“Such personally conducted biological investigations stimulate the chemist in his work and at the same time he learns, by his observations, to understand the problems and uncertainties of biological tests and is thus better able to appreciate the difficulties facing his colleagues who work in biology. Sometimes new and valuable discoveries may be made by small changes in methods of application, or again by the correct observation of apparently unimportant side-effects.”
- Paul Müller, on why he liked to work alone
“He formulated precisely the relationships between cause and effect, and did not complicate what was still unknown by hypotheses. When he did introduce hypotheses, they were supported scientifically by experiments. He never claimed more than he was able to prove scientifically or could verify by his own experiments.”
- Dr. Paul Speiser, Karl Landsteiner’s Austrian biographer, writing of the man who discovered blood groups.
“Whenever test mixtures were to be made…he would add the crucial component to the tubes and read off the reactions, the assistant standing by. This he did…in greater part to assure himself that what took place actually happened. Of this he was incorrigibly doubtful and when a discovery declared itself he would instantly conclude that it could not be real and would set about to make this plain. In thus striving to pull down, he not only buttressed, but often built further. Experiments which revealed anything were done many times over and not until the data on a point under determination were, in his term, ‘thick’, would he publish.”
- Peyton Rous, Nobel Prize winner, on Karl Landsteiner, the discoverer of blood groups
“Florey’s most striking characteristics were his energy and enthusiasm for research and his complete scientific honesty. He was a prodigious worker, full of ideas for the practical solution to some immediate problem, impatient of delay, and with an infectious vitality that was to attract a succession of collaborators who often found themselves doing the best work of their lives under his influence.”
- Gwyn Macfarlane, who knew Florey personally and would later write a biography of him