Top Ten Greatest Experiments. ‘George Johnson celebrates the great thinkers whose home-brewed experiments transformed our world: A few years ago, while reading stories about superstrings vibrating in 10 dimensions or quantum computers solving problems in parallel universes, I began to feel nostalgic. I love these grand speculative theories and admire their creators, but sometimes the layers of abstraction are piled so high that they induce vertigo. I felt a need to get back to the ground.
I also found myself lamenting how much of science has become a team sport. The experiments so often celebrated in the newspapers – sequencing the genome, proving the existence of the top quark, discovering a new planet by analysing the wobble of a distant star – cost millions of pounds and are carried out by crews that have grown to the size of small corporations.’ [continue reading]