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I loved the interview in places, found it frustrating in others. Dr Batalha has a maddening optimism and appreciation for things that a contrarian like myself finds challenging to listen to (but that's almost certainly a good thing). She also has a physicists certainty of living in a mathematically defined universe, where even the deep mysteries are actionable and tractable. Having come from physics to struggle with less-well-defined fields (such as neurophysiology or endocrinology or immunology); their mysteries are actually more complex, more messy, more contentious, less ideal and therefore maybe even a little more human.

The one piece of the broadcast that got to me was her reverence for Kepler and his persistence (perhaps he was one of those white middle aged men, who boringly and painstakingly worked long hours in a lab with a white coat on, ironically enough) ... In part, this is because I am currently writing this note at my computer in the lab at 11:07pm, goofing off from debugging software that I have to get to work so that I can gather preliminary data for an NIH proposal that is due in about three and a half weeks. My current funding situation could only really be accurately described as 'dire' and there is a very real possibility that I will lose my job if I am not successful...

So, in the space of the questions and struggles that naturally arise in such a time, the thought of scientists who pursue their intuition to ask their own specific questions persistently and patiently is a thought far more inspiring to me than much-repeated poetic aphorisms of science and stardust.

Thank you.

Gully Burns