Thursday, September 13, 2007

"The 3,380-kilometre Appalachian Trail"

Paul Smaglik writes in an article titled "Hiking the ups and downs of the science trail" and published online in on 12 September 2007 (with the doi:10.1038/nj7159-253a) that
"Long-distance hiking is a lot like doing science. After leaving my post as editor of Naturejobs this spring, it took me about 1,200 kilometres, 20 thunderstorms and 12 rattlesnakes to really understand the similarities. While walking a portion of the 3,380-kilometre Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, it seemed that there was always farther to go, with no promise of an immediate payback. Days could go by without even the reward of a scenic vista. Some days, the walking felt akin to the daily slog of accumulating data without the guarantee of a publication or a grant."
He continues in that vein. I don't think I've ever thought of the Trail in quite that same way.
"The experience gave my wife and I insights that will serve us off the trail — and that scientists may well appreciate. Both on the trail and in the lab, there are so many things that can go wrong every day that there's no point in blaming anyone: just accept the situation and get on with it."
And counting kilometers instead of miles sounds pretty impressive, too.

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