african american, chemist

What if scientists practiced anticipating the next paradigm shift in their fields?

Reading the book The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert has made me think about paradigm shifts. Discussed in the book, is how researchers trained with a certain viewpoint within their field are often hesitant to accept an abrupt change in the field. With time, however, those in the field come to accept the evidence and the new paradigm.

I once heard someone say that when you run a business or your business is the leader in your sector, you should always be thinking of the next innovation that would put you out of business. If you can think of it first, you can prevent your business’s demise and consequently stay on top. You become your own competition.

It’s often said that being a scientist, running your own research lab, is like running a small business in a lot of ways especially since obtaining funding for one’s research is competitive.

So, I was thinking, what if, just as a general practice, scientists were always anticipating the next finding that would flip dogma in their field on its head. Maybe the dogma will stand the test of time, but maybe not.

Even if this paradigm shifting idea doesn’t come to fruition, perhaps you could spot something similar in another field and, I don’t know, start a collaboration.

Just something to reflect on.

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