Thursday, June 25, 2015

More and more scientists!

[I]f you uttered the statement "Eighty percent of all the scientists who have ever lived are alive today" nearly anytime in the past three hundred years, you'd be right. This has allowed more research to be done by larger scientific teams. Not only that, but higher-impact research is done by teams with many more scientists. Of course, growth like this is not sustainable—a long exponential increase in the number of scientists means that at some point the number of scientists would need to exceed the number of humans on Earth, While this mah almost be the case on Krypton, Superman's home planet, where the whole population seems to consist entirely of scientists, I don't see this happening on earth anytime soon. But this rapid growth demonstrates that scientific discovery is by no means anywhere near finished.
Samuel Arbesman, The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date (New York: Current, Penguin USA, 2012), ch. 2

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