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Published December 2008 | public
Journal Article Open

The alchemy of ideas


This article presents an assessment of the power of ideas and their role in initiating change and progress. The enormous potential cascade effect is illustrated by examining the movement of Modernism in the arts. Next, the immense scope and capabilities of the modern scientific endeavor—with robotic space exploration at the scale of 10⁹ meters at one extreme and the wonders of nanoscience at the scale of 10⁻⁹ m at the other—are examined. The attitudes and philosophies of neurological surgery are related to those involved in the Modernist movement and placed on the defined scale of contemporary scientific activity.

Additional Information

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Presented in part as the Theodore Kurze Lecture at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, April 30, 2008. Received, July 16, 2008; accepted, August 19, 2008; published December 2008. The authors have no personal financial or institutional interest in any of the drugs, materials, or devices described in this article.


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