From the Editor: 83.3 Imagination in Science

Melissa Stone | melissa.stone@yale.edu October 2, 2010

From the Editor: 83.3 Imagination in Science

“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.” — John Dewey

Welcome to Issue 83.3 of the Yale Scientific Magazine! Since our humble beginnings 116 years ago, the Yale Scientific has come a long way and in the past few months, we have been advancing more than ever before. We have revamped our website (ysm.research.yale.edu) and started tweeting (@yalescientific). We have also given the cover a more modern look and updated the layout. Please enjoy this issue of our magazine and I would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions to further advance the Yale Scientific.

Countless great advances in science have contained elements of luck and skill but for the most part were consumed by imagination. We cannot discover what we do not know or explain what we do not understand without the creativity of envisioning what we cannot see. From Joseph Priestley’s finding of oxygen in the 1770s to Mendel’s rules of heredity in the 1850s coupled with the discovery of oncogenes in 1975, these breakthroughs exemplified great imagination but scientific researchers at Yale have been taking it a step further.

Despite that these aforementioned discoveries are deemed some of the most important research of our time, it took many years until this knowledge could be used to help human kind or our environment. There seems to be a progression of science where there is the starting discovery, extensive research in between, and then finally, the innovation that leads to something tangible and profitable. In many fields, we have seen much progress for the research that lies in between and are at the verge for the ending advance.

In science, much recognition is lost for everything in between. For example, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Drs. de Duve, Palade, and Claude for their discovery of the ribosome in 1974. 35 years later, Drs. Steitz, Yonath, and Ramakrishnan received the Nobel Prize for their work elucidating the structure and function of the ribosome which has lead to the development of Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, a business that develops commercial antibiotics for highly-resistant bacterial infections. Thousands of researchers must have worked

on the ribosome in that 35 year time span, making vital discoveries that each unveiled one more piece of knowledge but they were never awarded Nobel Prizes. Perhaps it is imagination that enables a scientist to make that starting or final advance and separates his or her research from all the rest.

In this issue, our cover article on tissue engineered vascular grafts is just one example of research done at Yale where professors are making that final breakthrough.

Drs. Breuer and Shinoka have shown that tissue engineered vascular grafts can be used in congenital heart surgery and more amazingly, they can create new blood vessels using the patient’s own bone marrow.

I hope you cherish your reading of this issue of the Yale Scientific and use your imagination to create a breakthrough, be it scientific or your own personal endeavor.

Melissa Stone
Editor in Chief