Many great discoveries in science are surprises.
To paraphrase Louis Pasteur, sometimes luck favors the prepared mind, as when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by noticing that mold growing accidentally in his lab seemed to kill bacteria. At other times, new instruments offer unanticipated revelations: until Galileo looked at Jupiter with his telescope, he didn’t know it had moons or their importance to our understanding of the solar system. And, occasionally, methodical experiments find exactly the opposite of what they sought to prove. Scientists intending to measure the deceleration of the Universe’s expansion, for example, found acceleration instead.
The 2018 Radcliffe Institute science symposium will focus on how scientists explore realities they cannot anticipate. Speakers from across the disciplines of modern science will present personal experiences and discuss how to train scientists, educators, and funders to foster the expertise and open-mindedness needed to reveal undiscovered aspects of the world around us.