Respond Quote - Experimental Insight

Please respond to the following quotation.

“Rigorous reasoning is crucial in mathematics, and insight plays an important secondary role these days. In the natural sciences, I would say that the order of these two virtues is reversed. Rigor is, of course, very important. But the most important value is insight—insight into the workings of the world. It may be because there is another guarantor of correctness in the sciences, namely, the empirical evidence from observation and experiments.”

Kannan Jagannathan, Professor of Physics, Amherst College (300 words)

I screw my eyes shut, then slowly peek at the screen. It worked! I jump up and down waiting for the capture to finish, frantically print off a copy, and race down the hallway to compare it to my notes. Wait a second; why is the mutant sample showing such a strong signal? I slowly walk around the corner and hand the picture to my mentor.

“Did it work?” he asks.

I relinquish the black and white banded image and wait for his verdict. He smiles at the high resolution of the bands of protein, then looks slightly puzzled. Looking up at me, concern etched in his face, he asks, “Is this the mutant sample?”

I slowly nod yes, knowing it isn’t the answer he wants. “Well, this isn’t what we had expected,” he sighs. “I know. What does it mean? Shouldn’t there be a stronger signal from the wild type sample?“ I ask. “I guess we were wrong,” he mutters.

I walk back to my desk, pondering what my mentor had said. I turn back, “Wait, doesn’t this indicate that there might be a correlation between an increased expression of the mutant sample and higher levels of the autophagy-related protein?” “It’s possible,” he replies. “But we need more evidence to support it.”

I turn away and grin. I hurriedly sit down and open my lab journal to start planning another experiment to test my hypothesis. I feel a rush of excitement and curiosity; I’m at the edge of current scientific knowledge. The data just in might not support our previous ideas, but it has pointed me to a new insight. I can’t wait to see if I’m right.