John M. Barry writes that scientific research is a challenging field and requires creativity and courage to succeed. Scientists need to find new methods that are not available anywhere else. Although there are many obstacles at first, more information becomes available and the details become clearer. Barry uses many different rhetorical strategies to convey the message.
Barry discusses what characteristics a scientist should have at the beginning. Barry says certainty and uncertainty are two different things. He doesn’t mean that you can have certainty after a successful experiment, but that scientists should be confident in their abilities. This is used to illustrate the difference between a failed scientist and one who succeeds. Barry lists the qualities that “passion, patience and creativity are important for a scientist.” Barry uses enumeration to show that scientists are braver than they might seem. They are able to overcome uncertainty and get rid of self-doubt through their bravery. Barry continues to illustrate the difficulties associated with scientific procedure. Barry uses the metaphor that scientists are “almost clueless” and must venture into unknown areas to find the right techniques. . . It is impossible to bring order to it.” His metaphor shows how scientists are often unable to execute their goals. This example proves that science is much more complex than scientists believe. Barry uses contrast to illustrate that scientists can be taken into “an entirely new world” or thrown off the edge of a cliff by a single step. Contrast shows that while bravery is the basis of scientific research and can lead to failure or disaster, new experiments can easily go wrong.
Barry concludes the passage with a discussion about the rewards that researchers can receive for their dedication and hard work. Scientists will have to travel long distances in order to discover a new thing. Their colleagues will then “pave roads over” the paths they have laid. This metaphor depicts the dilemma researchers face. It would be easy to allow others to do the hardwork and choose the straight, ordered route. Barry says that not all scientists are able to deal with uncertainty. This fact makes the real researchers even more impressive. They are willing to take on tasks that only a few other people would be able to handle. Scientists can make new discoveries that will help everyone in science.