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Celebrating the Experiment
April 19, 2011
Kary Mullis received the 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) while working at the Cetus Corporation in San Diego.
Science is a process of trial and error. It always has been. Its strength lies in the fact that mistakes eventually are discovered for what they are, and in the long run, unlike any other global institutions, art, politics, religion, science comes through with the goods. We have been showered by the benefits of this process for the last three hundred years such that average individuals are now in possession of things that kings would have gone to war for in the 17th Century.
What non-scientists and scientists alike do not always understand is that the process often follows false leads that take fifty to a hundred years to repair. Due to the rapidity with which scientific findings are spread in today’s world, mistakes, which are a natural and integral part of the process, cause disruptions and misapplication of global resources. In this last century untested paradigms are often and inappropriately the subject of great public concern.