I have to post this thought of Harald zur Hausen, a scientist I feel proud of working in the same institution as him. He had a life-long battle to convince people of the consequences he had found in his research: the potential of human papilloma virus (HPV16 and HPV18) to induce cervial cancer. Nowaday it is obvious that 90% of this tumor type, and about 20% of larynx and pharynx carcinoma are a direct consequence of chronic HPV infection. Nowaday, young woman can get vaccination (free of charge) to protect them from the virus, and thus minimize their tumor risk by a factor of 10. With an annual incidence of about 8 cases per 100.000 females, the HPV vaccination (introduced 2006) might have saved already thousands of woman from developing this cancer. It would be nice to grant Harald zur Hausen a bonus payment for every life that was saved thanks to his discovery. For today, I'd like to express my gratitude by citing his scientific precept:
The fear of following a speculative, risky approach that is beyond our current textbook wisdom is detrimental to any further progress. Real discoveries were never achieved on a path via established paradigms and fear of conflicts.
I shall mention that I need some mental support from a person like him, since on Monday I have to presnt something on my work on our annual institutes retreat. I already know that this whole event will go exactly along mediocre, established concepts of science.