Peter Medawar on lab lovers

“Men or women who go to the extreme length of marrying scientists should be clearly aware beforehand, instead of learning the hard way, that their spouses are in the grip of a powerful obsession that is likely to take the first place in their lives.”

- Peter Medawar

This pearl of wisdom, along with many others, comes from the famous 1979 book 'Advice to a Young Scientist' by the late Peter Medawar - highlighted today in an editorial about science careers in the journal Nature.

Medawar, who won the Nobel Prize in 1960 for his work on immune rejection of transplanted tissues, was as famous for his insightful and amusing writing as for his science. But we're not completely convinced by this quote. Yes, some scientists can be obsessed by their work, but equally, we know of many scientists who strive and succeed to achieve a good work-life balance. There is no one 'type' of scientist, although the stereotype of the obsessive boffin stubbornly persists to this day. Still, the book is well worth a read even several decades later: as Nature says, much of the advice is timeless.