Published 2 July 2015 by Akshat Rathi

Five questions to a Nobel Laureate: David Gross


How much sleep do you need and does it affect your work?

I try to sleep for 8 hours, but on average I get about 7 hours. When I’m thinking hard, I need more sleep. Actually, I think a lot of work gets done while sleeping.


Are you addicted to something? Science cannot be the answer

New knowledge (says so while smoking). I also prefer coffee.


What’s your idea of a perfect holiday?

My wife jokes that I wouldn’t want to go to a beach, because after a day of sitting around I’ll go crazy and start causing trouble. One of my main goals in life, if not the main goal, is to not be bored.


Where do your best ideas come from?

I wish I knew. A lot of the work on solving problems is done by some portion of the brain without knowing. It often happens that, when I’m talking to someone, I say something that I had no idea where that thought came from. So I stop myself and I say, “Wow, that’s pretty interesting.”


What one advice would you give to young scientists?

Do what you enjoy, because then you’ll enjoy the journey

Akshat Rathi

Akshat Rathi is a reporter for Quartz ( in London. He has previously worked at The Economist and The Conversation. His writing has appeared in Nature, The Guardian and The Hindu. He has a PhD in chemistry from Oxford University and a BTech in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai.