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How To Spur Scientific Revolution: Amass Copious Data, Keep It Simple

It's another late night in the lab, and you are poring over a data set that just doesn't make sense. No matter how you crunch the numbers, they just don't fit. Unless. . . . If you disregard the generally accepted model and ignore the ideology of the day, an intriguing mechanism emerges. Your midnight model explains all the data, but it runs counter to everything you've been taught about biology. You'd be in good company. In the past, scientists have grappled with some seemingly bizarre concep

Karen Hopkin

It's another late night in the lab, and you are poring over a data set that just doesn't make sense. No matter how you crunch the numbers, they just don't fit. Unless. . . . If you disregard the generally accepted model and ignore the ideology of the day, an intriguing mechanism emerges. Your midnight model explains all the data, but it runs counter to everything you've been taught about biology.

You'd be in good company. In the past, scientists have grappled with some seemingly bizarre concepts: DNA that jumps around the genome; RNA that catalyzes a molecular reaction; proteins that may behave like genetic material. But they stood by their ideas, secured funds, and managed to amass enough evidence to win over even their most dubious critics-in some cases, receiving a Nobel Prize for their efforts.

How did they manage to turn alternative theories into something mainstream? And what...

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