The Scientific searching agent seeks good science stories. Like the other agents, it has two personas, one seeking for general principles (Einstein) and the other for specific examples (Edison). The difference between these personas is the difference between theory and technology. Using the Gulf War as an example, there are two very different lines of inquiry possible upon finding out about stealth bombers and scud missiles. Inquiring about theory leads to one line of questions. How do these things fly? What had to be known in order to build them? How does one calculate their trajectories? How does flight work anyhow?
Inquiring about technology leads to different questions. What is the advantage of these planes and missiles over others? How were they developed? What are their effects? How might they be improved? What new technologies are under development?
Both are reasonable lines of inquiry, and both start with the same index in the initial story, namely, technology employed in this war. But, they answer different questions about that technology, and thus search for very different stories in the archive. These lines of inquiry are encapsulated in the following two basic questions which the personas of the Scientific Agent strive to answer:
• Albert Einstein: "What are the underlying scientific principles in this story?"
• Thomas Edison: "Please explain the technology that is important in this story."
The History Agent
Where am I in the content of the book?