The "End Of Discovery"?

by Patrick Appel

Jonah Lehrer ponders it:

I think it’s also worth contemplating the disturbing possibility that our cresting living standards might ultimately be rooted in the difficulty of making new scientific discoveries.

... In his Scientometrics paper, Arbesman points out that, in a few rare instances, we’ve already reached this “end of discovery” phase. Consider medicine: For thousands of years, humans documented the discovery of new internal organs. But that process of discovery is over - the last new organ to be identified was the parathyroid gland in 1880. While we’re certainly not close to the end of science – so many profound mysteries remain – we should be prepared to work harder for what we learn next. All the low-hanging facts have been found.

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