“Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As one of the greatest Transcendental authors recognized, scientific innovation is driven by human curiosity. Over the past 30 years, revolutionary changes have been made to the scientific methods and technological tools that we use to study the dynamic and mysterious world around us. The momentum for such exponential growth in progress has not slowed, ushering us into an even more exciting age for science and technology. What used to be science fiction is now scientific reality.
Impossible before was the cloning of animals. Since Dolly the sheep became the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell in 1997, other animals have been cloned as well, including endangered and even extinct species such as the Eu¬ropean mouflon and the Pyrenean ibex respectively. Automatic doors as imagined by H.G. Wells in the late 1890s have become ubiquitous in venues all around us. Touchpads of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek as seen in the 1980s are now commonplace with our touchscreen smart phones, tablets, and even televisions. Robotic prosthetic arms for amputees have been developed with the ease of application without surgery and the precision of inserting a small screw into a hole.
Research at Yale has been no less extraordinary. Professor Jan Schroers of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science has developed a new technique of blow molding to shape metallic glass into precise objects of all shapes and sizes for medical, electronic, and commercial applications. Professor Andre Taylor at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science has designed a new fuel cell catalyst composed of amorphous nanowire alloys that can double the lifespan of fuel cell devices. With the integration of West Campus resources to Science Hill and Yale School of Medicine laboratories, scientists now benefit from state-of-the-art high throughput screening core facilities at the Center to High Throughput Cell Biology and the Small Molecule Discovery Center. All such developments will not only greatly impact the future of scientific discovery here at Yale but also change the lives of the greater community.
To conclude the tenure of the 2011 masthead, we found a theme no more fitting than the “The Future of Science.” As we embark on yet another year of our lives, we set bigger and even more ambitious goals to achieve. Following the wise words of Thoreau, the seed of wonder that we planted will soon become a grant scientific forest of knowledge.