As I thought about "Conditions for Discovery," it seemed desirable to relate some of my remarks to the new Institute for Biomedical Research, for in this venture reside opportunities to be especially creative in biomedical research. There also exists an opportunity to innovate with respect to mechanisms of achieving excellence through an optimal environment for research—in brief, creativity in being creative.
Let us consider first some fundamentals of the general environment in which this Institute will function. In order for a scientist to be productive he must work in fields in which there are opportunities for great discoveries. As one surveys the various fields of science, one can note great variation in their present potential.
Some areas show definite signs of being mined out. For instance, at one time a number of scientists were active in discovering all stable isotopes of the elements. That work is at least 99% complete.
Abelson PH. III. Conditions for Discovery. JAMA. 1965;194(13):1364–1368. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090260024007
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