Submitted to: American Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Major discoveries in science have an impact beyond the direct application of the discovery. These discoveries influence scientists and affect the way research is conducted and the direction research takes. More subtly, they affect the use of resources available to the scientific community. That in turn acts as a guide for the future of science and scientists. In the field of entomology three recent examples of such discoveries would be insect hormones, insect pheromones, and molecular engineering of plants and insect pathogens. Indeed these discoveries have significantly affected the field of entomology and the actions of entomologists everywhere. Yet each discovery must be seriously reviewed and accurately evaluated for its perceived and true value. By exploring how research discoveries affect the science and profession of entomology, we can both take advantage of the benefits and avoid the complications which may arise.
Technical Abstract: As entomologists, whether professionals or students in the field, we are all affected by fads (a discovery of research that temporarily is of considerable interest and receives extensive hype within the scientific community) and fashions (the rapid application of a discovery in a diversity of fields in anticipation of new knowledge and the development of fuseful technologies). For some, the changes associated with these discoveries are an invitation - a chance to explore a new field and expand their scientific horizons. For others, the discoveries are a threat, potentially causing a de-emphasis of their research, while the forefronts of science appear to be directed away from their area. The progression of discoveries to useful applications frequently depends on available resources and the allocations of those resources will impact the future of entomology. In today's environment, fads and fashions that affect entomology should be scrutinized to minimize any loss of fiscal and professional resources that are needed to maintain our ability to respond to the role that insects play in our environment.