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Finally, Farewell to “Stamp Collecting”...

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The perspective paper by Margaret McFall-Ngai and colleagues was recently featured by Elio in this blog, strongly emphasizing its Chicxulub-like impact on microbiology. Here I offer a postscript, a few loosely connected thoughts from a historical perspective about its impact on biology and life sciences in general.

Until the 50s of the last century, advancement in biology was largely the product of three overlapping generations—students, active scientists, and emeriti—laboring over methods, paradigms, concepts, and theories. With few exceptions, these were European and North American men. Theories put forward by the emeriti during their active time tended to be overthrown by their former students who now become active scientists themselves: a spiral of slow progress.

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