All posts by John Quackenbush, Ph.D.

The End of the Beginning

In the late 1800’s, physicists thought that the problems of physics had been mostly solved. After all, Newton’s laws described the motion of ordinary objects, Maxwell’s equations explained electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics detailed the relationship between forms of energy. But that view of the world soon changed as special and general relativity altered our views of space, time, and gravitation; statistical mechanics provided a stochastic basis for understanding bulk properties of matter; and quantum mechanics blurred the lines between particles and waves, matter and energy. The biological sciences are entering a similar phase of transition between what was and what will be our view of the world and the way it operates. The Human Genome Project has been long heralded as the means to understanding how we as beings carry on the biological processes we need to survive. Sure, if you read the papers you know that the genome sequencing has been declared finished—but we have a long way to go before the promise of the genome project is complete.
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