How to deal with failure


Nobel Laureates offer their advice on how to get through setbacks and difficult times, based on their experiences throughout their scientific careers.

Type of Activity

working independently



Age Group

Undergraduate to Teacher


These videos were filmed as part of the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative.
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  • Martin Chalfie answers the question: How should you deal with failure?
  • Elizabeth Blackburn describes how daunted she felt by a career in science, and gives advice about dealing with the fear of failure. 
  • Paul Nurse answers the question "How do I deal with low moments when things aren't working?"
  • Tim Hunt talks about how to get through difficult times, and how to see through the constant failures which are part of being a scientist. 
  •  Elizabeth Blackburn discusses the importance of letting go of your ideas to be able to see things from a new angle.
  •  Barry Marshall gives doctors advice on how to deal with mistakes.

These videos are from the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative's (NPII) YouTube account, which can be found here. The NPII is a global programme designed to help Nobel Laureates share their inspirational stories and insights with the worldwide scientific community, and especially with early career scientists.