The Long Trip to the Cutting Edge

It’s the first week of class here, which always catches me off guard. Suddenly the streets are filled with people unfamiliar with the laws of walking around in New York City. I might be getting curmudgeonly.

This quote from an interview with Randall Munroe, creator of XKCD (previously), is apropos, as many little baby graduate students are starting their climbs up towards the shoulders of giants:

When you’re talking about pure research, every year it’s a longer trip to the cutting edge. Students have to spend a larger percentage of their careers catching up to the people who have gone before them. My solution to that is to tackle problems that are so weird that no one serious has ever spent any time on them.