William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza have a message for young scientists: do science for its own sake—and enjoy it.

“What young trainees have to understand is that, at least for those of us who love science, getting to do science is a prize in and of itself,” Kaelin, Sidney Farber professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, said to The Cancer Letter. “If your goal in science is simply to get prizes and to get recognition, you may be doing it for the wrong reason, and you’ll probably, frankly, wind up being a miserable person, because there’s certainly some luck involved in winning prizes.

“I think you have to take some joy in the day-to-day life of a scientist and try to do science because you love it.”

Kaelin and Semenza—and Sir Peter Ratcliffe, director for the Target Discovery Institute within the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University—were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability (The Cancer LetterOct. 11, 2019).