Breakthroughs and Breakthroughs

Barry Palevitz's and Ricki Lewis's article about scientific breakthroughs1 raises important issues. The authors give many examples of overconfidence from journalists. They refer to talks from the Breakthrough! conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for scientists and journalists.2 They also discuss the Worlds Apart study from the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.3 At the end of their article, speaking about distrust between scientists and journalists, they ponder,

Ann Barber
Feb 14, 1999

Barry Palevitz's and Ricki Lewis's article about scientific breakthroughs1 raises important issues. The authors give many examples of overconfidence from journalists. They refer to talks from the Breakthrough! conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for scientists and journalists.2 They also discuss the Worlds Apart study from the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.3 At the end of their article, speaking about distrust between scientists and journalists, they ponder, "How long can that last?"

Maybe a third group of professionals can help allay this distrust. Investors use news from journalists and data from scientists to make their investment decisions. Just as scientists succeed when their work becomes a breakthrough, investors succeed when they invest in a true breakthrough and fail when they invest in hype. I am a physician-scientist who moved from Washington, D.C., to New York to become a biotech security analyst on Wall Street....

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