Weizmann Institute of Science | Annual Report 2010
Science Now: Questions from the Edge
In the beginning was the question. Like an artist beginning a painting, the scientist starts out unfulfilled: Neither will be satisfied until they devote themselves to pursuing an end that is unknown, its reward unclear. Both have the desire to fill a blank space, a gap in the tapestry of knowledge about the world – filling in the details of how it works and why things are the way they are. The one thing that’s bright and clear, right from the outset, is the question.
The question is the key to the whole enterprise, both in art and in science. The question paraphrases the unknown and lays out the framework, turning the blank canvas into the possibility of a painting, outlining the research path. Like painters, sculptors, writers and composers, each Weizmann Institute scientist aims to push the envelope of the human experience. By just asking the question, a scientist is already on his or her way to an answer. Often, of course, the research leads to new questions, or at least to a reframing of the original question, and the answers they eventually discover may not be part of the original plan. By constantly asking questions, they are, in effect, redrawing the borders of human culture.
This annual report asks ten of the questions that are today engaging researchers all over the world – questions from the edge of science. The Institute scientists who appear in the following stories are all addressing these questions, sometimes in strikingly different ways.
The Institute has many friends around the world, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.