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Most people think of science as a series of dramatic results, breakthroughs, advances, but science is really first and foremost a process. You start out on one path and then take a sudden turn to find yourself going down a totally different road. Sometimes the steps are small and the progress incremental.
This process can go on for years as you keep gathering pieces of a puzzle that gradually add up to a big picture of which you catch only fleeting glimpses along the way. And then one day, when the light flashes on in your brain, you see the big picture, the grand scheme, and it all comes together; all the data you’ve been accumulating for years starts to make sense. Or maybe you never get to that point and, instead, continue to create new techniques, brainstorm more questions, create more data, massaging it all into shape for publication.