Yesterday Google had a doodle for Copernicus on the occasion of his 540th birthday. There have been many pioneers in science that have challenged current thought and understanding. Copernicus challenged the Earth centered view of the universe and gave us the Sun centered view. He was not correct but based on the evidence he had he came up with a new idea. He stuck to the evidence and conventional wisdom and gave us the modern science of astronomy. The same could be said for many scientific ideas. With the advent of new information and new technologies what we thought we knew and understood changes. In science nothing is ever really settled, particularly large and complex systems.
Think about the quest for the elements and the smallest particle of matter. Once upon a time the smallest particle was an atom, then we split the atom and found Neutron, Electrons and Protons. Since then we have broken these down into quarks. The ‘facts’ and ‘truth’ for one generation are just steps to the ‘facts’ of the next. I am thankful for all the scientists who continue to question, challenge, test and explore current theories and seek to find new frontiers of knowledge. Critical, reflective thinking at its best.