One hundred and twenty-five years ago, a virtually unknown German country doctor called Robert Koch stood before the Physiological Society of Berlin and announced that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis (TB). This was probably the most astonishing and significant statement in the history of medicine. Yet the disease he discovered still kills one to two million people per year.
In <i>The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy</i>, the Deep Thought computer announced that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything was 42. Physicists are finding themselves just as frustrated as the super-intelligent beings who built Deep Thought after discovering that the ultimate answer to their questions is a set of meaningless numbers.