Play and hypothesis testing: From a note to my research group

I do not believe in the model that science advances by testing hypotheses. I think that people play and then stumble across something interesting and then later repose what they stumbled across as a hypothesis to be tested.

I think we need to do two things simultaneously:

  1. We need to have fun and be playful and work on things that seem interesting even if there is no obvious high impact paper to come out of it.
  1. We need to focus on writing high impact papers that make important novel contributions.

Most scientists essentially rewrite the same paper over and over again throughout there careers, as they slowly drift off into irrelevancy.  This is what happens when people just go on just treating aspects of problems not treated in their previous papers. To remain vital, we must address new problems.

So, the questions are:

A. What are avenues of play likely to be fruitful in leading to interesting, relatively unexplored territory?

B. What are potential important high impact papers that we can be working on now?