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Infrequently Asked Questions

This space is reserved for good questions. They can be philosophical, applied, mathematical, or not. We invite you to pose new ones here, and to discuss any and all of them at will. To get the ball rolling, two questions from us are:

  1. Can the mining of large-scale data bases (“big data”) produce theoretical advances, such as Newton’s Laws, Game Theory, or the theory of Natural Selection?

    Obviously, data analysis can corroborate theories, but can it generate them? If so, how, or in what sense exactly? Give examples of great scientists who were, or were not, data miners, as you define the term.
  2. Is it true that the future of research is “Team Research?”

    Why are there no great team-painted paintings, or team-composed symphonies, and vanishingly few team-proved theorems? What is it about a scientific problem that makes it particularly amenable to teamwork?


We welcome discussions and further questions, from individuals…and teams!