Fascinating article by Jonah Lehrer about the work being done at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, where they are attempting to create a genetic map of the human brain on a voxel scale. Here is one interesting tidbit:
They remain excited by the idea of working on the frontier of science, by the possibility that their maps will allow others to make sense of this still inscrutable landscape. In other words, they are waiting for the future, for some scientist to invent an elegant theory that explains their enigmatic data. Jones likes to compare the current state of neuroscience to 19th-century chemistry. At the time, chemists were strict empiricists; they set substances on fire and then recorded the colors visible in the flames. Different chemicals produced different spectrums of light, but nobody could make sense of the spectrums. The data seemed completely random. But then, with the discovery of quantum mechanics, scientists were finally able to explain the colored light—the unique rainbows were actually side effects of subatomic structure. Such is the faith of scientists: Nature must always make sense.
The article touches on some other theoretical and practical considerations of the scientists. I bet that Paul Allen, the $100 million dollar founder, is satisfied with his investment because this is awesome research.