Why Serendipity in Science£¿

"The Serendipity in Science Symposium will differ from many scientific meetings in that it will focus on the importance of chance in the process of scientific research. When conducting truly basic research a key point is to ask good questions about things that are not well understood. Often bringing new techniques to bear on old problems can lead to new insights and discoveries. The most important aspect of such work is to notice the unexpected findings, the experiments that fail and to have the freedom to follow through and find out why they failed. 

Usually, there are just two reasons. One is that you conducted the experiment incorrectly. The other – and the most important possibility – is that Nature is trying to tell you that the axioms upon which you designed the experiment are incorrect. This is always the dream of every scientist to realize that a new explanation is needed, that a discovery is possible, perhaps a really important one.

Nobel-winning scientists will talk about the role that chance has played in their own work and how good scientists need the freedom to follow their nose and investigate phenomena that may have no immediate applications, but will later form the basis for important technical developments. Failure in science can be a very good thing when it hints at a new discovery waiting to be made."

- Sir Richard Roberts, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine; Chairperson of WNPLS 2016

About Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow is a best-selling 2011 book by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics winner Daniel Kahneman which summarizes research that he conducted over decades, often in collaboration with Amos Tversky. It covers all three phases of his career: his early days working on cognitive biases, his work on prospect theory, and his later work on happiness.
The book's central thesis is a dichotomy between two modes of thought: "System 1" is fast, instinctive and emotional; "System 2" is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The book delineates cognitive biases associated with each type of thinking, starting with Kahneman's own research on loss aversion. From framing choices to people's tendency to substitute an easy-to-answer question for one that is harder, the book highlights several decades of academic research to suggest that people place too much confidence in human judgment.

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