Notes on: “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”; by Thomas S. Kuhn

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Thomas S. Kuhn. (50th Anniversary Edition)

Scientific theories don’t change because old scientists change their minds; they change because old scientists die. ~ Max Plank

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn, Historian of Science, published his seminal work: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (The University of Chicago Press). In this book, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science – those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas – actually occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Normal Science , as Kuhn defines it, means research firmly based upon one or more past  scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community  acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.

Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.

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