Progress in biology?

“I came to work at the MRC Unit for the Study of Structure of Biological Systems in September of 1951…The then tiny unit, composed of Max Perutz, John Kendrew, Francis Crick, and Hugh Huxley, with Sir Lawrence Bragg, the Cavendish Professor, as its very involved patron, had as its objective the understanding of life at its deepest level, the molecular. By so doing, they hoped to transofrm biology from a morass of seemingly limitless and often boring facts into an intelectually satisfying discipline like physics and chemistry.”

– James Watson, “Minds That Live For Science”, in A Passion for DNA.

60 years later:

“Biology is entering a period where the science can be underlaid by explanatory and predictive principles, rather than little bits of causality swimming in a sea of phenomenology.”

– Eric Davidson, quoted in Erica Check Hayden,”Life is Complicated,” Nature April 1, 2010

Will we ever escape from the morass of limitless, boring facts?

Author: Mike White

Genomes, Books, and Science Fiction

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