The Most Precious Thing We Have
^T^^Uie part of the world known as the Industrial West could, in its ■ entirety, be seen as a monument to the Scientific Revolution, begun over 400 years ago and succinctly captured in a single phrase by one of its initiators, Francis Bacon: "Knowledge itself is power." We live in an age of science and technology. Thirty years ago, historian of science Derek J. De Solla Price observed that "using any reasonable definition of a scientist, we can say that 80 to 90 percent of all the scientists that have ever lived are alive now. Alternatively, any young scientist, starting now and looking back at the end of his career upon a normal life span, will find that 80 to 90 percent of all scientific work achieved by the end of the period will have taken place before his very eyes, and that only 10 to 20 percent will antedate his experience" (1963, pp. 1-2).
There are now, for example, more than six million articles published in well over 100,000 scientific journals each year. The Dewey Decimal Classification now lists more than a thousand different classifications under the heading "Pure Science," and within each of these classifications are dozens of specialty journals. Figure 1 depicts the growth in the number of scientific journals, from the founding of the Royal Society in 1662 when there were two, to the present.
Virtually every field of learning shows such an exponential growth curve. As the number of individuals working in a field grows, so too does
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