THE NOBEL PRIZE AND AFTER: A Talk with Frank Wilczek

From Edge:

Wilczek In retrospect, I realize now that having the Nobel Prize hovering out there but never quite arriving was a heavy psychological weight; it bore me down. It was a tremendous relief to get it. Fortunately, it turns out I didn't anticipate that getting it is fantastic fun—the whole bit: there are marvelous ceremonies in Sweden, it's a grand party, and it continues, and is still continuing. I've been going to big events several times a month.

The most profound aspect of it, though, is that I've really felt from my colleagues something I didn't anticipate: a outpouring of genuine affection. It's not too strong to call it love. Not for me personally—but because our field, theoretical fundamental physics, gets recognition and attention. People appreciate what's been accomplished, and it comes across as recognition for an entire community and an attitude towards life that produced success. So I've been in a happy mood.

But that was a while ago, and the ceremonial business gets old after a while, and takes time. Such an abrupt change of life encourages thinking about the next stage. I was pleased when I developed a kind of three-point plan that gives me direction. Now I ask myself, when I'm doing something in my work: Is it relating to point one? Is it relating to point two? Is it relating to point three? If it's not relating to any of those, then I'm wasting my time.

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