What happened to all the major scientific breakthroughs that were made?

Miracle vaccines. Videophones in our pockets. Reusable missiles. Our technological advantage, and the associated blurring in scientific progress seems undisputed and unprecedented. Analysts now ReportOver the past quarter century, the overall pace of real breakthroughs fell dramatically.

The report’s authors explain in Nature this month how they analyzed millions of scientific papers, patents, and other data to find that inventors and investigators have made relatively few breakthroughs and innovations relative to the growing body of technological and scientific research. The three analysts observed a steady decline in disruptive discoveries between 1945 and 2010, which suggests that scientists today tend to progress incrementally, rather than making big intellectual leaps.

Michael Park, author of this paper and doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota in entrepreneurship and strategic administration, said that “We must be living in a golden age of innovation and discoveries.”

Park and his colleagues found that science investments can be caught in a vicious circle of declining returns, and that quality sometimes outweighs quantity. It is not addressed in the study but raises questions about how science can push the boundaries and sustain the kindacratic discovery that opened up the universe and the universe. Her previous studies Indicated slowdownin scientific advances, but with less rigor.

Russell J. Funk, also from the University of Minnesota, Erin Leahy, an Arizona sociologe, and Mr. Park based their study upon an improved type of citation analysis performed by Dr. Funk. Help innovate. In a nutshell, citation analysis tracks the way researchers cite each another’s published work. This allows us to discern the best ideas from the average ones in a complex research system. Their improved method expands the analytical scope.

Pierre Azoulay (MIT professor of technology innovation and entrepreneurship) said that “it’s a very smart scaling.” “I was giddy when I saw it. It’s like a new game.”

Objective methods have been a long-standing goal of researchers. to rateThe state of the flag is essential to economic growth, national pride, military might, and national pride. As more papers were published, it became more difficult to do so. million annually. Every day, that’s more than 3,000 papers — by any standard, an indecipherable blur.

Experts debate the relative merits of extra steps and vs. lunge challenges. “Eureka!” Moments can change everything we know about the field.

The new study could add to the discussion. The authors of the new study are surprised that many of the groundbreaking discoveries are not routine science. They often miss real leaps in science, which is something that is widely hailed.

The most significant breakthrough in the list is gene splicing, which is still a relatively unknown science. It allows foreign DNA to not only be inserted into bacteria-free cells but also human and animal cells. It was mentioned in the New York Times Memorandum 1983Four paragraphs. This feat has resulted in a series awards for the authors and Columbia University. Almost 1 billion dollarsIt raised funds for biotech operations all over the world by raising licensing fees

Analysts will, however, see the two most significant discoveries of this century as triumphs of ordinary science and not as leaps of genius. It is the foundation of the mRNA vaccines against coronavirus that have been successful. Decades of unattractive drudgeryNotice.

So, too, was the 2015 observation of gravitational waves—tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time—not an unexpected breakthrough, but rather a confirmationA century-old theory that required decades worth of hard work, testing, development, and sensor development.

“Disorder can be a good thing,” said Dashun Zhang, a scientist at Northwestern University. usedThe 2019 study features a new analytical technique. “You want novelty. But you also want everyday science.”

The trend toward incremental progress was revealed by the analysts who used the enhanced form citation analysis to study nearly 50,000,000 papers and patents that were published between 1945 and 2010. They looked across four categories – life sciences and biomedicine, physical sciences, technology, and science social—and found a consistent decrease in what they called “disruptive” outcomes. They wrote that their results suggested that disruption rates are slowing down, which could reflect a fundamental shift within science and technology.

Their new method—and citation analysis more generally—gets analytical power from the requirements that scientists cite the studies that helped shape their published findings. Analysts began to emerge in the 1950s. He started countingThese citations are used to identify research of interest. It was a form of scientific applause.

But counting can be misleading. Some authors cited more of their own research than others. Unremarkable discoveries may also be cited a lot. Worst, some highly cited papers are actually minor improvements to common techniques used by the scientific community.

This new method digs deeper into quotes in order to better distinguish daily work from actual accomplishments. It records citations of not only the analyzed portion of the research, but also of previous studies it cites. It turns out that it is more common to cite prior work if the result was routine than novel. This difference is transformed into a new lens by the analytical method.

The scale is called CD indexAfter its size, it goes from unifying to discrediting the existing body knowledge.

Dr. Funk, who helped to invent the CD Index, stated that the new study was so complex that it required supercomputers to perform the hacking. “It took a few months,” he said. “This kind of thing wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago. It’s within reach now.”

Dr. Wang is one of the many researchers who has benefited from this new technique. In 2019, he and his coworkers will be able to use the new technique. mentionedSmall teams are more inventive than large ones. The timing of the discovery is important because science teams have changed over time to include more collaborators.

In an interview James A. EvansThe new method was described as elegant by Dr. Wang, a University of Chicago sociologe. He said, “He invented something important.” He said that the application of it to science in general suggests not only a declining return but also a growing need to reform policy.

Dr. Evans stated, “We’ve had a lot of science commanded over us.” “We bet confidently on where we invest our money. We don’t put our money on anything fundamentally new or potentially disruptive. This paper suggests we need less order and more chaos.”

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