In this first memorial lecture after John Severinghaus’s death in 2021, the author traces his journey as a physician–scientist, using the framework of the hero’s journey as described by the author Joseph Campbell 40 to 50 yr ago, and parallels that journey to his own. The author discusses how each were gadgeteers: Severinghaus in a creative engineering way, while the author’s approach was asking simple questions translating basic research in pain from animals to humans. The classic hero’s journey of departure to achieve a goal, then trials, transformation, and finally, returning with benefits to the individual and others is translated to the common physician–scientist career with motivations progressing from “I will show” to “I wonder if” to “I wonder why.” Critical to this journey is self-questioning, openness to new ideas, and realizing that progress occurs through failure as much as success.

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