... the aesthetic excitement of science ...
are probably as many reasons to do science as there are scientists.
Too often, the aesthetic excitement of science is sacrificed to its
undoubted utilitarian value, a trend that seems to be intensifying.
Still, many scientists remain who appreciate the aesthetics of the process
from discovery to understanding, and for them a treat is in store.
The elements of beautiful science are familiar:
first the confrontation of the human mind with a natural phenomenon,
then its investigation through observations and experiments,
and finally, in best case, the convincing demonstration of the validity
of one of the theories through confirmation of its specific predictions.
The process can take only a few years and involve only a few scientists
or it can span centuries and involve many.
The practical consequence may be revolutionary and change the course
of history (...) or it may have little or no use.
In either case, a full scientific story, especially one that has been
unfolding over historic times, can be a lovely thing, like a classical
symphony or a gothic cathedral. '
David Botstein in a "Perspective" article on contributions to the
knowledge of the molecular biology of colour vision,
11 april 1986, page 142.
Jos van Geffen --
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