Scientific Anthology: Failure as a Stepping Stone

Introduction

Failure is often seen as a negative part of scientific discovery. Failure is inherently bad. But failure is not completely bad. When it is not a completely indomitable failure, it provides an opportunity for growth, and quite often is a stepping stone towards success, or brings you one step closer from achieving your goal.

This anthology is a collection of 15 carefully curated pieces which reflect the importance and the nuances around failure and its role in the scientific world. As you will find, failure is not only an irremovable component of science and progress, but a driving force into scientific discovery and advancement.
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Scientific Anthology: Failure as a Stepping Stone

Bone Cement

Hip-replacement

I have been fortunate enough to know personally some amazing orthopedic surgeons. My mother has always worked in the medical field in close contact with these professionals. Ever since I was young, I had always been interested in the medical field and when I was 16 I thought I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. A close family friend took me into his operating room at 16 years old to watch a total hip and bilateral knee replacement. I was offered an opportunity that most medical students haven’t even experienced yet. During the surgery, Dr. Porth handed me a glob of white material that reminded me of play-doh. He told me to make a mushroom out of the dough and I was confused as to what it was. After about 20 minutes the material had hardened completely. What he gave me was bone cement that he was using to hold together the metal implants in the surgery. I later had put my name on it and the date to remember the moment.

 

When reading this chapter on platforms, I found it interesting that scientist mimicked the corals growth mechanisms to create this cement for repairing fractures. Now this cement is used world wide as a tool for holding the implants together so they wont separate. What is also amazing is that the body doesn’t usually reject it. However, its usually only found on the inside between two implants, not on the outside of them. Before reading this chapter I had no idea where the idea for such an innovative tool came from. Coral reefs have a huge effect on the ecosystem underwater but I would of never thought to use their mechanism to come up with a surgical tool.

Bone Cement