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Armchair philosophers sometimes defend the purity of “Science” by distinguishing it from technology or applied science, a move resembling hip America’s affection for the idea of soccer, but not the game itself. Separate scientists from tools and applications, and what’s left? A feeble enterprise, a succession of conjectures.

When applied, science sometimes delivers but always—always—graces humanity with unexpected consequences. Nothing infuriates my literature and medicine students as much as Wendell Berry’s observation that “medicine is an exact science until applied,” and nothing they learn in their four years of medical school is more urgent and more true.