Modern scientific culture has evolved from its roots in the ancient world and has become a complex web of many highly specialized disciplines. Gone are the days when one man, such as the seventeeth-century Robert Hooke, could be a groundbreaking inventor, microscopist, physicist, surveyor, astronomer, biologist and even artist. Today the sheer enormity of available information has led to highly defined specialisms, and academics are expected to keep to their field - despite the truism that science has no experts. [..] The gains from modern science are beyond counting. But the loss, arguably, is the synthesis of information generated by the many gentleman scholars that once existed, before becoming extinct somewhere around hte late nineteenth century. So few scholars now have a chance to view the bigger picture - to seek out patterns that might unexpectedly exist when apparently unrelated data is brought together. It has to be remembered that the difference between a major breakthrough and nothing at all can be just the angle of view rather than anything else.