6.25.2009

Are we witnessing the end of science?

·Almost all the great revolutions in scientific thinking may be behind us, but the way modern science is conducted stifles radical new ideas.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/jun/22/end-science-unified-theory-mavericks
http://www.thebiblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/wired_end_of_science.jpg
Wired magazine is well known for its catchy cover lines. I won't forget one from 2007. Alongside a mocked-up image of a yellowing lab notebook and magnifying lens, it proclaimed: "The end of science: The quest for science used to begin with grand theories; now it begins with massive amounts of data."
Scientists and science commentators often say that if yesterday's science needed outstanding individuals such as Darwin and Einstein, tomorrow's theories will be shaped by the vast quantities of data pouring forth from networked computers and from the labours of big research teams working in areas such as particle physics, the human genome and astronomy.
[...]
Will we never witness a scientific revolution again? And will tomorrow's theories be guided by big data rather than revolutionary ideas?
These questions were asked to particle physicist Alison Wright, chief editor of the journal Nature Physics and to Lewis Wolpert, pioneering biologist from University College London, in a debate about the future if science.
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