Knowing about negative results does not mean a failure if this is the way to keep out other researchers repeating the same experiments. After all, it is important for other researchers to know what does not work. We learn from our mistakes, and, even if we consider it as a failure (they are not), we are inching forward to success. Imagine watching television under candle light if Edison gave up after failing ten thousand times while working on the invention of the light bulb. That is what research normally is.
In this post, we’ve selected what famous people and philosophers quoted on mistakes, errors and negative results when it comes to Science. Enjoy!
• "Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t." --- Thomas A. Edison
• "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."--- Albert Einstein
• "Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth." --- Jules Verne
• "Mistakes are the portals of discovery."----James Joyce
• "Mistakes are merely steps up the ladder." ---Paul J. Meyer
• "An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field."--- Niels Bohr
• "Science, in the very act of solving problems, creates more of them." --Abraham Flexner
• "Experiment adds to knowledge, credulity leads to error." ---- Anonymous
• "A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are portals of discovery." --- James Joyce.
• "Results! Because, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won`t work."--- Thomas A. Edison
• "Science never solves problems without creating ten more." ----George Bernard Shaw
• "An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he is in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots."--- Charles F. Kettering
• "Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward towards success."--- Charles F. Kettering
• "Honorable errors do not count as failures in science but as seeds for progress in the quintessential activity of correction."--- Stephen Jay Gould
• "If the experiment works then, you must be using the wrong one. An experiment usually has a tendency to fail."--- Anonymous
• "There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes."---Richard Buckminster Fuller.
• "I never quit until I get what I’m after. Negative results are just what I’m after. They are just as valuable to me as positive results." ---Thomas A. Edison
• "Every great improvement has come after ten repeated failures. Virtually nothing comes right in the first time." --- Charles F. Kettering
• "Successes teach you nothing. Failures teach you everything. Making mistakes is the most important thing you can do." --- James Dyson
The next time when decide to give up something because it fails, remember all these great men; success may just be around the corner!
Written by Shalini P. Burra for The All Results Journals.
NOTE FROM DAVID ALCANTARA: Do not give up your experiments but, most important, do not forget to publish your negative results!