"I had a nice new job, a new lab, but nothing worked! That proved that I wasn't good enough!
This is what Moungi Bawendi, one of this year's three Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, says about the uncertainty that hit him when he came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the world's leading universities.
For much of his life, he has struggled with the feeling of being an outsider and not being good enough. When I got the coveted job at MIT, imposter syndrome hit with full force.
"Soon I'll Be Exposed"
"At MIT, I was supposed to do research on developing a method for producing quantum dots in the perfect shape and quality, but it didn't work!
"It was incredibly problematic. The reason I didn't succeed must be because I shouldn't be there at all, according to Moungi Bawendi.
Suffering from the so-called imposter syndrome is common, especially among high-performing people. For some, it can lead to not daring to move forward in their career. For Nobel laureate Bawendi, imposter syndrome has had two effects.
"It has led to me not having a very good self-confidence, but it has also made me fight even harder to prove that I am really good enough," says the Nobel laureate.
And that trait, to fight even harder, has paid off for Moungi Bawendi. Because despite the setbacks, he continued with the research and finally succeeded. This year, he is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of how to easily make perfect quantum dots.
Can Nobel Prize cure imposter syndrome?
The question then is whether the feeling of being a fraud will disappear now that he has received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, proof that he really is one of the foremost in the world in his field.
"Right now, I would say that imposter syndrome has almost disappeared, at least temporarily. But it will probably come back again, Moungi Bawendi concludes.
Meet this year's Nobel Laureates on SVTplay and Vetenskapens värld in SVT2 4/12 at 20.00