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October 4, 1965

Institute for Biomedical Research

JAMA. 1965;194(1):A35-A38. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090140127059

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The distinguished Canadian physician and investigator, Sir William Osler (1849-1919), once said: "That man can interrogate as well as observe nature was a lesson slowly learned in his evolution."

In the relatively brief history of man's efforts to question nature the principles of interrogation have, of the most part, remained unchanged. The question must be such that a meaningful, related response is discernible. The question is controlled; the response is limited. Progress, the accumulation and refinement of knowledge, is the correlation of the limited responses.

The technique of interrogation, the methodology of science has, on the other hand, evolved until it poses problems crucial to the continued advancement of science. To discover oxidation required of Lavoisier a balance, a burning glass, some mercury and a touch of genius.

Discovery still requires genius, but the time when profound insight was to be gained from a balance and burning glass is only

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