David Brooks in a recent column in the New York Times highlighted the shift in thinking about what makes someone a “genius”. The upshot of the argument is not that raw intellect and inate talent are the sources of genius, but rather it is practice, practice, practice.

That is my experience for what makes a good scientist as well. This is not to say that intelligence is not needed. Surely, a minimum level of intelligence is needed to be a good scientist. However, what separates the successful scientists from the unsuccessful is effort. Successful scientists are those whose first thought after waking up in the morning is about the problem that is currently perplexing them. It’s also the thoughts that follow them to sleep at night. Science is about the struggle to figure things out, and people who are not comfortable with that struggle are not successful.