I was at the ASCB meeting this week, and was at the Neuroscience meeting earlier in the month. I talk to people all the time about their great ideas and how I should give them lots of money to fund them/buy them etc.... I, in the biological sciences, think we are in a bit of a slow down period. Note, I am NOT saying that everything has been discovered and that science is over. I AM saying that we are in a slow period. This is my, purely subjective and personal, point of view on the matter.
I think in the 90's there was a burst of technology that flooded biology. This was good. KO mice, transgenic mice, microarrays, phospho-antibodies etc.... all came along and really stood things on it's head. Now, I think, people are scratching their head and trying to figure out what to do with their toys. There is still improvement going on, but it is perfecting and incrementally improving things not fundamentally remaking things.
I think this is good, but it does make my job harder. I need badly to find the "next thing" and to do that it has to be out there. In the mean time, my feet hurt from walking past every poster at every show. And I am just not seeing the "next thing"
So - Either I am stupid. -or- I am impatient -or- People really are hunkering down and using the tools that they have developed in order to actually answer some biological questions as opposed to just serve as technology platforms.
personally, I actually think it is a good thing. People will have to get back to actually answering a question as opposed to just making a technology. They will have to think about problems and not about technoloy. I think this will lead to a lot of break throughs in human health and fundamental understandings of 'how stuff works'.
For a person who needs to license technology and isn't currently paid to figure out how stuff works....this is not such good news.