When one applies for a grant to fund research, or any other activity, the success or failure of that grant application cannot be known until the email or letter comes in, either confirming funding or denying it. For this reason, one’s proposed research can be described as both funded and not funded, until that dreadful email comes in and the wave function collapses. This paradox, formulated by Catherine Scott in an effort to cheer me up, shall hereby be referred to as Schrödinger’s Grant (inspired as it is by the famous thought-experiment of Erwin Schrödinger).
Of four grants I have applied for in the past year to fund further research on the Red-throated Caracara, one has been funded, two have been denied, and the fourth is in this state of limbo.
This is a fine way to think of things, and one can always be optimistic, but is it really wise to pin one’s future on such unpredictable events? Sometimes it seems the height of foolishness.
Of course, in the Many Worlds interpretation of grant funding, there exists a possible universe where Red-throated Caracara research is a top priority and ALL the grants are funded, the Nat Geo special is watched by millions and I have a full time job doing tropical research…