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Issue 15
Spring 2008

Helping America procrastinate since 1636

October 24, 2020

Whenever I'm Feeling Down, I Publish Another Nature Article

By Manfred Novak
HARVARD - The ivory tower can be so stressful sometimes. What, with all the lecturing and being famous, what's a mathematician to do? Whenever I reach a low point like this, when it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I do what any other self-respecting academic would do — I publish another article in Nature.

Now, I know what you're thinking. It certainly does sound eccentric to just fire off a Nature paper whenever you're feeling low, but how much more eccentric is it than say, riding your bicycle, or taking a trip to the zoo, or publishing an article in Science? Take it from me, my friend, that the best way to cheer yourself up whenever you are feeling down is to write an amazing Nature article.

Now don't get me wrong — there are so many other things that I enjoy besides writing Nature articles. I read. I watch television. I like popsicles. Deep down, I know that it's the simple things in life — like making snow angels or watching the squirrels gather nuts — that make my life worth living. But God only knows there is no pleasure on Earth like caressing my face with the pages of my latest Nature paper.

My graduate students have asked me whether it is possible to publish in Nature too frequently, citing fallacious rumors that publishing in Nature has adverse health effects. The bottom line is that you should publish in Nature just as frequently as you need to. For some people, this might be once a decade. For others, it might be five times a year. No frequency of Nature publications is better or worse than any other. Publishing in Nature is a very private, personal decision that only you can make for yourself.

Speaking of Nature articles, did I mention that I just wrote one the other day? There I was, with a hole inside of me that I thought could never be filled. But then the idea came to me: I could write a Nature article! All I did was whip up a few Ordinary Differential Equations, vary a few parameters, and viola! Almost immediately, a transcendental state of euphoria washed over me, and I knew what destiny had in store. Manfred Novak...Nature! Suddenly I knew that I was the Man — a Nature man — and that this freight train was going to keep on rolling.  HSP 





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