Some breakthroughs are followed by celebration, by jubilation, the discovery having been searched for for months, for years, sometimes for decades. The research has taken an age and finally, finally, it has yielded a result, a result that has been hoped for and prayed for.
Some breakthroughs are followed by shock, by surprise. Sometimes they are unexpected and almost unwelcome, not at all what was being looked for. There was a woman who discovered something quite by accident and had to teach herself particle physics before she could even understand what it was she had happened upon.
But my breakthrough was unwanted, was followed by silence, by terror, by horrified looks from those around me. My friends, my colleagues, looked at me aghast, as I looked at my results. My partner told me to delete it, barked at me to erase the evidence, almost shouting at me, but I wasn’t quick enough. I was so astonished by my discovery, so incredulous at what I saw before me, that my reactions were dulled and my responses slowed, and when the supervisor came over, I was struck dumb, unable to do anything to save myself. And as they took me away and I finally came to myself and started screaming and yelling and kicking, all I could think about was what I’d discovered, and what it meant, and that it would die with me when I did, and that that would be soon.