Human beings have always aspired to leave behind a trace of their existence. Some create immortal works of art – paintings, music, sculptures, literature - which survive the passage of time and are still able, time and again to stir our emotions. But were their creators, in the heat of their creation, looking to posterity? Surely not: true creation is an untarnished act, it seeks no reward. It just happens. It is sufficient unto itself.
The same is not always true in scientific research, which often resembles a competition. The lures of glory stalk the laboratories: to be the first one, perhaps the only one, isn't that a great idea? Great discoveries have often been a matter of chance, but most scientists work towards a goal. It is to understand, or to discover, by working on what is already known. Either to cite in support, or to argue against.