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From Additive Manufacturing to 3D/4D Printing 1 by Jean-Claude André

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ConclusionPerspectives and Considerations

“I would like to propose a simple principle, which I call the ‘principle of the cherry and the screwdriver.’ Scientists do not have the final perfect method, unveiled in the heavens by some Prometheus who was offering for them to be the sole decoders of the world. Science advances with difficulty by observing events and seeking to detect the regularity of the world. Each problem generates a multitude of theoretical and experimental approaches that are not taken from a reservoir of predetermined certainties, but which are the fruit of inventiveness, imagination, sometimes genius, but still ephemeral methods, trends, derivatives of tradition or zeitgeist. Nature resembles a Sphynx. If we question it, it announces – in the best of cases – that our theories are flawed, but it does not tell us where and how to modify them. Each problem demands the creation of adapted methodological instruments (like a screwdriver) and creates others that must be tackled, one by one (just as we pick cherries). Science is thus a refined form of handicrafts that demands – though this is not true for all trades, and thus there are exceptions – engagement, competence, and a rare ability to change one’s ideas about the world when mistakes are perceived. This final point, according to Bertrand Russell, distinguishes men according to their ethics, given that most rather tend to change the world and do not hesitate to shatter it if it does not have the good manners ...

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