Thomas Kuhn, the famed philosopher of science who wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, showed that science develops through surprising transformations.1 Kuhn says that science moves in dramatic leaps from one basic paradigm to another, rather than following an evolutionary process. These quantum leaps in science are something like regime changes in politics: they are disruptive and radical.

Kuhn says there are two ways to do science. In most periods, scientists play by the rules of normal science. They accept the reigning theoretical paradigm and try to solve the small puzzles yet to be resolved. But over time, inexplicable contradictions—Kuhn calls them “anomalies”—begin to accumulate. A few ...

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