Monday, February 12, 2018

The New Wave of Daring Scientists

The New Wave of Daring Scientists  
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  - Albert Einstein 

Dr Abe V Rotor
School on Blog 

Let's shift our mind from the old timers  Darwin, Newton, Linnaeus,Mendel et al  to younger, daring scientists of today.  They question authority instinctively.  It may yet become in my belief, a new field in which we expand our concept of freedom, freedom to question dogmatic principles  set by authorities in science  who are unquestionably  long revered and respected.  Let us cite the most daring scientific innovations"at the edge."    

1. Neurobiology. Brain cells do regenerate.  nd they gro from stem cells, which means that brain cells are not only replaced, but they are capable of differentiation.  The man behind this is am 49-year old neurobiologist, Fred Gage (RIGHT PHOTO), of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.  Cell growth can be harness to treat everything from epilepsy to stress and depression. Does this also mean that we have actual control in the development of our mental faculties?  Will this finding explain why there are late bloomers, and why some people in some stages of their life do change.  We are looking at a new field of psychology, an evolution of the mind, heretofore unexplained.   

2. Re-birth of Theoretical Physics.  This involves knitting together the theory of Quantum Mechanics , which deals with the universe  in its smallest scale. It also involve Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, known as String Theory, proposed by a 31-year old native of Buenos Aries, Juan Martin Maldacena. 
    3. Combinatorial Chemistry.  Peter Schulz, 44 (LEFT PHOTO), of the Genomics Institute of Novartis, has succeeded in inventing 80 new amino acids which he uses to make proteins  seen nowhere in nature.  He is also working on an artificial bacterium with two extra bases of its DNA and five unnatural amino acids in its protein.  He asks, "What would life look like of God worked on the seventh day and made a few more amino acids?"   

4. Exobiology.  The new field that is known as astro- or exobiology studies how life could form elsewhere in the universe.  "And why not?" says Sherry Cady, 43, a geologist at Portland State University who studied bacterial micro fossils in hot springs.  "Microbes could live  and fossilize in so punishing a place like like a scalding hot spring."  Sh believes that it is not only in outer space to meet alien life forms, but there are plenty of them here on earth. 

5. Astrophysics.  The universe is expanding even faster, suggesting the existence of the anti-gravity force first proposed, the abandoned by Einstein.  Adam Reiss, then 25 in 1995, joined prestigious scientists to measure what was expected would be a post-Big Bang cosmic slowdown.  To Reiss' surprise instead of slowing down, the universe is speeding up. which seems to imply that there is force acting against gravity.   

6. Circuit Biology.  With the computer it is now possible to simulate how cells work - not as individual cells - but as a whole circuit of billions of cells controlled by enzymes and other regulatory processes.  The pioneer is a 33-year old Adam Arkin of University of California.  He is developing a program called bio/SPICE that he hopes will do for the cell what SPICE did for one chip.  His first targets are simple bacteria.  

It may be recalled that some of the best ideas cam from scientists who were viewed as crackpots, but were ultimately vindicated.  Among them is Subrahmanyan Chandrasdekthar who suggested in 1930 the existence of Black Holes.  He won the Nobel Prize for it in 1983. 

In the field of geophysics, Alfred Wegener proposed in 1912, Continental Drift Theory, now called plate tectonics. 

In the field of Neurology, Stanley Pusiner (LEFT PHOTO)posited infectious proteins called prions to explain diseases in "mad cow" family.  He was criticize in the eighties  but won a Nobel Prize in 1997.  

The impact of these discoveries and innovations may not be fully appreciated for decades - if not longer, But then how long did it take the world to recognize and benefit from the works of Galileo, Mendel, Darwin, et al

Reference: Light from the Old Arch - By AV Rotor, UST Publishing House 2001

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