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April 4, 1966


JAMA. 1966;196(1):94-95. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100140148044

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In ordinary conversation the term "the pill" has come to mean a small tablet which, if swallowed according to directions, permits effective "family planning." Science has already scored notable victories in trying to simplify family planning. Many problems remain, but some of them, such as persuading people to use available techniques, lie in the fields of sociology, economics, and ethics, rather than science.

I would now suggest a new target for science—a new kind of pill which I would call "the pill of knowledge"—a simple painless medication which, when swallowed, would make us masters of various fields of knowledge.

Most of us would like to know a lot about many different subjects—statistics, for example, or genetics, or the new math, perhaps medieval Latin poetry, or automobile engines, or numismatics. Most of us have a definite thirst for knowledge which may impel us to read appropriate books, or listen to lectures,

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