To dream the impossible dream To fight the unbeatable foe To bear with unbearable sorrow To run where the brave dare not go To right the unrightable wrong To love pure and chaste from afar To try when your arms are too weary To reach the unreachable star This is my quest, to follow the star No matter how hopeless, no matter how far To fight for the right without question or pause To be willing to pass into hell for a heavenly cause And know if I'll only be true to the glorious quest That my heart lies peaceful and calm When I'm laid to my rest And the world will be better for this That one man scorned and covered in scars Still strove with his last ounce of courage To reach the unreachable star This is my quest, to follow the star No matter how hopeless, no matter how far To fight for the right without question or pause And to dream the impossible dream.
Source: Man Of La Mancha (The Impossible Dream lyrics)
Some of the men stood talking in this room, and at the right of the door a little knot had formed round a small table, the center of which was the mathematics student, who ws eagerly talking. He had made the assertion that one could draw through a given point more than one parallel to a straight line; Frau Hagenström had cried out that this was impossible, and he had gone on to prove it so conclusively that his hearers were constrained to behave as though they understood.
There's a touch of the priesthood in the academic world, a sense that a scholar should not be distracted by the mundane tasks of day-to-day living. I used to have great stretches of time to work. Now I have research thoughts while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sure it's impossible to write down ideas while reading "curious George" to a two-year-old. On the other hand, as my husband was leaving graduate school for his first job, his thesis advisor told him, "You may wonder how a professor gets any research done when one has to teach, advise students, serve on committees, referee papers, write letters of recommendation, interview prospective faculty. Well, I take long showers."
Source: Her Own Words: Six Mathematicians Comment on Their Lives and Careers. September 1991