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April 1961

Serendipity Will Not Operate in a Vacuum

Arch Neurol. 1961;4(4):353-354. doi:10.1001/archneur.1961.00450100001001

A former Oxford professor of moral philosophy, Thomas Hill Green, once spoke of imagination as a uniquely human process. Imagination, he said, permits man to project himself and his world beyond the time and place in which he lives. A neurologist meets many tragic situations, each with its deplorable consequences in morbidity and mortality. Is he to be blamed, then, for seeking a utopia in which etiologies are surely apprehended and corrective therapies quickly introduced? However, the easy answers are all in. Daily, clinical investigation becomes more complex, and we need to forsake any remaining hope we have that future solutions can arise in a saltatory fashion, bypassing the detailed laboratory investigation of disease. The press for solutions of urgent clinical problems requires modern laboratories which adjoin the neurological wards of our hospitals. Only then can we expect to liberate imagination as a force in clinical research. Serendipity* will not

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