Results That Are True But Not Understandable

Some leading scientists in a variety of fields were asked to give their prognostications for key developments in 2011. As part of this, Steven Strogatz (see part 10 of 10) suggests:

“We’re going to see scientific results that are correct, that are predictive, but are without explanation. We may be able to do science without insight, and we may have to learn to live without it. Science will still progress, but computers will tell us things that are true, and we won’t understand them.”

In 2011, automated scientists are poised to make major contributions to science. Dr. Lipson and his students are looking for hidden patterns in the networks of proteins that break down food in cells, for example, and they’ve set up a Web site where people can download Eureqa free of charge and discover laws of nature for themselves.

Steven Strogatz is a Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University and he’s made important contributions to the field of complex networks.

Popularly, he’s probably best known for his book ‘Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life‘.


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