Scientific work has two opposing demands: the first is the development of sound hypotheses, the second is testing them by hands-on work in the lab. Sometimes I find it hard to keep the balance right.

A prerequisite for a good theory that can subsequently be tested in the lab is a broad knowledge of the field. So I wade through piles of articles and books, follow up contradictory aspects and take a stance. New models must be imagined, including their implications. All this is so intriguing but so time-consuming that I'm regularly getting lost in it. And this is only half the job.

Going back to the bench to investigate the theory takes even more time and energy. Thingsare often not quite as straightforward as imagined. Nature always seems to work counter to human imagination. So testing a hypothesis usually results in adapting it, which requires more testing — and so on.

At some point I must draw a conclusion and I have never felt really confident in doing so. This is not because my presumptions or results are weak. But there are always more papers to read and more experiments to do. And no one has tried any of this before. Still, that's the thrill of science. It's always new.