According to a recent study, scientific breakthroughs have been declining over the years, particularly in the fields of physics, chemistry, and researchers are unsure why.
In recent decades, there has been an “exponential growth” in the volume of new technological and scientific knowledge, which created conditions necessary for major advances in those fields, states the study, published in Nature magazine on Jan. 4. However, the study showed that progress is not slowing down in many fields contrary to expectations.
“You don’t have quite the same intensity of breakthrough discoveries you once had,” said Russell Funk, co-author of the study.
The research team reviewed 45 million papers, 3.9 million patents and analysed the results. They used a new quantitative metric called the “CD index” to identify how papers and patents “change networks of citations in science and technology.”
The team discovered that patents and papers are less likely to lead science and technology in new directions. This trend is breaking with the past.
“We link this decline in disruptiveness to a narrowing in the use of previous knowledge, allowing us to reconcile the patterns we observe with the ‘shoulders of giants’ view,” the study said.
“We find that the observed declines are…