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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Which of these breakthroughs will still matter in 20 years?

One thing that becomes clear if you pay close attention to science is that for all the rigor, discipline, and hard work that is required to make big discoveries, something completely unscientific also plays an important role: serendipity.

Despite efforts to place funding bets wisely and support projects that are likely to have the most impact outside the laboratory, progress often comes where people least expect it. That is one of the marvelous things about the whole enterprise: People carefully design experiments based on their expectations, and yet surprises occur.

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