Publishing Failure

Bragging about failure rarely gets a professor tenure, or makes a scientist famous.  However it is failure by which we all learn the most from.  The video above where Brian Cox discusses the first failure at the LHC is an excellent example of how interesting failure can be.The benefits of publishing negative or ‘inconsequential’ data has a dotted but successful past.  It was the partially successful results of early HIV drugs that, in combination, gave us the successful HIV cocktail treatments.  It was the baseline data of background CO2 levels from a Hawaiian volcano that gave us the first warnings of how CO2 is linked to Global Warming with the Keeling Curve.  It is the spectacular and catastrophic failure of the Tacoma Narrows bridge that made engineering around constructive resonance the default. I hope somday to create a Museum of Failure, but until then, we have YouTube…

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