The practice of R&D involves making mistakes, realizations, corrections, and more mistakes. Trial and error is a fundamental part of the process. Too many managers in corporate America learn to avoid invention and new thinking because they have been convinced that their careers depend upon not making mistakes ....

- Tom Huff

Why is Experimentation Important?

Scientific and human knowledge has progressed in the past few millennia much through experimentation. This has led to the modern scientific method of systematically observing, experimenting, and measuring of phenomena in search of explanations, hypothesizing and testing ideas. Deriving hypotheses, conjectures, models, theories and even causal explanations from the experiments have been driving modern society and technological developments for the past few hundred years.

Experimentation has been central in the scientific quest of turning natural science results into new ideas, technologies, and innovations that have fulfilled desired human needs and have extended the human horizon. Consider Galileo Galilei, Johannes Guttenberg, Louis Pasteur, Antoine Lavoisier, Michael Faraday and numerous others. They have all contributed to societal progress by introducing new innovations that have had an impact on human capabilities in extending what is achievable. Their remarkable accomplishments have rested on scientific method of building on existing knowledge but mostly on pure curiosity, experimenting or fiddling with uncommon objects and untested ideas and theories.

Without experimentation, no real innovation is possible. The process of innovation can be as important as its products and other results as it in many times leads to unanticipated avenues and unexpected advances in our knowledge. In this process the importance of engaging and interacting between different contributing actors with heterogeneous backgrounds is well recognized in current literature and practice. A fruitful interaction with physicists, engineers and students from adjacent fields have resulted in many marvellous scientific advancements, for example the Hubble telescope, Mars Rovers, space satellites, sequencing of the human genome or finding the Higgs-particle. As just one example of the power of the collaborative approach in science, CERN in particle physics has facilitated over 60 years of global, open, large scale experimental experiences. It has offered historical rooting for initiating experiments, some of which have resulted in high societal impact, such as the world wide web.

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