My Great-Great-Aunt Discovered Francium. And It Killed Her.
Interesting story, and an astute observation:
There is a common narrative in science of the tragic genius who suffers for a great reward, and the tale of Curie, who died from exposure to radiation as a result of her pioneering work, is one of the most famous. There is a sense of grandeur in the idea that paying heavily is a means of advancing knowledge. But in truth, you can’t control what it is that you find — whether you’ve sacrificed your health for it, or simply years of your time.
Hard work and intelligence is no guarantee of success, and some success is just pure luck. There are a number of scientists out there who will never win a Nobel, and it has nothing to do with their talent.