AGU has convened Chapman Conferences since 1976 as a means of conducting organized, in-depth exploration of specialized topics in a manner seldom possible at large meetings. During these two decades, however, the face of science has changed significantly. The increased wealth of intellectual and technical talent available within the community, the ever tightening budgetary constraints within the federal funding agencies, and the refocusing of agency missions have significantly affected the way we conduct science. The current times require a fundamental change in the way we develop, propose, and conduct scientific research in this country. To an extent, we must now consider ourselves and our laboratory capabilities as techniques in search of questions and our scientific hypotheses as questions in search of techniques.