Applicability Quotes (4 quotes)
A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises is, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended is its area of applicability. Therefore the deep impression which classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content concerning which I am convinced that within the framework of the applicability of its basic concepts, it will never be overthrown.
All scientists must focus closely on limited targets. Whether or not ones findings on a limited subject will have wide applicability depends to some extent on chance, but biologists of superior ability repeatedly focus on questions the answers to which either have wide ramifications or lead to new areas of investigation. One procedure that can be effective is to attempt both reduction and synthesis; that is, direct a question at a phenomenon on one integrative level, identify its mechanism at a simpler level, then extrapolate its consequences to a more complex level of integration.
Each species has evolved a special set of solutions to the general problems that all organisms must face. By the fact of its existence, a species demonstrates that its members are able to carry out adequately a series of general functions. These general functions offer a framework within which one can integrate ones view of biology and focus ones research. Such a view helps one to avoid becoming lost in a morass of unstructured detaileven though the ways in which different species perform these functions may differ widely. A few obvious examples will suffice. Organisms must remain functionally integrated. They must obtain materials from their environments, and process and release energy from these materials. They must differentiate and grow, and they must reproduce. By focusing ones questions on one or another of these obligatory and universal capacities, one can ensure that ones research will not be trivial and that it will have some chance of achieving broad general applicability.
From the physician, as emphatically the student of Nature, is expected not only an inquiry into cause, but an investigation of the whole empire of Nature and a determination of the applicability of every species of knowledge to the improvement of his art.