Epilogue

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.”—Daniel J. Boorstin (American author and historian)

“A wild idea...” that is “at variance with established knowledge.”—The English Royal Society, rejecting Edward Jenner’s discovery of the first vaccine

As the ten greatest breakthroughs in medicine have repeatedly shown, knowledge is a risky business. It can blind us from the very discoveries we seek. It can be so corroded by tradition that it blinds others. And, despite how much we try to accumulate, it can be overmatched by simple dumb luck. Somehow the individuals in this book navigated these challenges to arrive at ten breakthrough discoveries: 1) medicine itself; 2) sanitation; 3) germ theory; ...

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