On his way to receive the Nobel, physicist Peter Higgs (of Higgs-Boson) was interviewed by the Grauniad. He said:

Today I wouldn’t get an academic job. It’s as simple as that. I don’t think I would be regarded as productive enough.

What should one make of this statement? Looking at Higgs’ description of his record at the time, it seems very clear that he would not have made it through the ranks now. Bad for Higgs. But is it bad for Science as some  have concluded? The article suggests so. But, there is a gap in logic. It implies, for example, that were Newton to have succumbed to the plague, Calculus and  the laws of motion would not be uncovered. This we know is false. The question of the best way to engineer a climate most conducive to research is not resolved by such reflections. It is not obvious that long periods of inactivity punctuated by bursts of magisterial insights is any better or worse than continued activity generating small insights that eventually cumulate into something larger.