We usually don’t have applications in mind. They come later.
This is largely the methodology I’ve used throughout my career – that is, starting with a question as to what might be the properties of a set of compounds that could be invented which were unusual and unpredictable. Many times I’ve felt a bit like Columbus setting sail.
By the time I entered college, I had decided not to have children, a decision that was never regretted. Accordingly, I was careful to court only girls who wanted to have professional careers.
Few scientists acquainted with the chemistry of biological systems at the molecular level can avoid being inspired.
To retain my fascination with chemistry, I have had to change my research fields about every 10 years.
An investigator starts research in a new field with faith, a foggy idea, and a few wild experiments. Eventually the interplay of negative and positive results guides the work. By the time the research is completed, he or she knows how it should have been started and conducted.