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Even if the world won't sit up and pay much attention to little ol' you, at least you know what a scientific savant you are, and what a great service you're doing the planet. Especially if you do something like cure cancer. In an extreme case such as that one, you are certain to get some personal recognition, rather than having all of the acclaim heaped purely on the company you work for. As if you needed more incentive to cure cancer.