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Science and its Functions1

Nature volume 100, pages 294298 (13 December 1917) | Download Citation



SINCE the earliest times, man, like his poor relation o the monkey, has always been of a curious disposition, and has wanted to know the why and wherefore, as well as the mechanism, of all the phenomena that he sees about him. No doubt much early science, especially in the fields of astronomy and alchemy, was practised as a cult, with the view of impressing and mystifying the common people, but at the back of it all there can be little question that the great force that impelled inquiry into Nature, both in ancient times and in the modern world, was curiosity, which in itself is probably of all human emotions the one that has been most conducive both to intellectual and to material progress.

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