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Assumptions: Taking Chemistry in New Directions


  • I thank Michael Mayer, Mila Boncheva, and Barbara Whitesides for their suggestions and editorial help with this paper.


Is thinking about the future an important thing to do or just a diversion? Science periodically requires society to discard important assumptions, with profound consequences. Failed assumptions are easy to identify with hindsight, but can they be predicted? In this Essay, the author discusses assumptions society accepts, and the potential of science to disprove them.