Increasing probability for discovery

Every Friday evening, you stop at the corner ­convenience store on your way home from work and purchase your weekly allotment of lottery tickets, one, for the Saturday evening drawing. You figure, why not? Even though your chances are around 1 in 292 million, your investment is low and you still have a chance to win. Right?

Now imagine if you pooled your money with 99 single-ticket buyers each week. Your odds to win would still be long, but you’d have increased them nonetheless.
Gary Patti, associate professor of chemistry, uses the lottery-pool analogy to explain his ­innovative approach to conducting research.

Historically, researchers have used the ­scientific method, where you start with a specific question, develop a hypothesis for that ­question, and then design an experiment to test that ­hypothesis. If the experiment holds, then you progress; if not, you have to redesign your hypothesis.

In Patti’s lab, however, they flip this ­paradigm on its head, running massive numbers of ­experiments, reviewing enormous amounts of data, and then trying to construct a hypothesis from the results. 

Read more at The Source. 

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