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July 4, 1959


Author Affiliations

From New York Hospital, New York.

JAMA. 1959;170(10):1184. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010100046014

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T IS presently fashionable in scientific circles to regard basic research as the high-priestess of the new era, and certainly no one can challenge this general position. However, the definition as to what basic research really consists of and who is doing it varies, depending on the spokesman. In the medical field the pathologists, the biochemists, and the anatomists consider themselves to be the basic scientists. But in broader scientific circles the physical chemists, the physicists, and the mathematicians, with the many ancillary branches of these disciplines, are not unanimous in accepting the biochemists or the pathologists into their fold as true basic scientists. Even within the medical field, it seems to make a difference whether the investigator works with an electronic computer, test tubes, mice, guinea pigs, or human beings—the implication in some quarters being that man working with man as his subject is in some way a lesser

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