Naukowe niespodzianki, czyli dlaczego odkryć naukowych nie można przewidzieć


  • Grzegorz Węgrzyn Uniwersytet Gdański, Wydział Biologii, Katedra Biologii Molekularnej

Słowa kluczowe:

research, unpredictable results, the role of politics in science


Scientific research is activities aimed at discovering previously unknown facts, phenomena, processes, mechanisms, etc., using objective, repeatable and verifiable methods. In practice, this means that if we strive to investigate something unknown, it is impossible to precisely plan what we discover, because we do not know it. This human activity differs from all the others, where, although the goals set can be both easy and simple as well as ambitious and difficult, it is possible to precisely indicate the specific end goal of the activity that we want to achieve, specific measures that are needed for this and specific methods what we need to apply. Therefore, if we can predict what exactly is needed to achieve the assumed goals, it can be any human activity but scientific research, because its results cannot be predicted by definition. This has profound consequences, both in the conditions that must be created for the practice of science, and in the results of scientific research. This unpredictability of the results of scientific work causes that, on the one hand, many legal provisions that work well in other spheres of life, become absurd in science and inhibit its development, and on the other hand, obtaining surprising results is relatively frequent in science. Such surprises, sometimes the result of unintentional mistakes by researchers, have led to many groundbreaking discoveries. It is also important to realize that attempts to subordinate science to political goals can lead to dramatic effects, so such actions should never take place. Politicians should support scientific research, point to its enormous social role, but never indicate what the results of scientific work are to be.





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