Nature Horizons articles present experts’ visions of the foreseeable future of a research theme. The articles are commissioned by Nature‘s editors, and usually published without peer review, given the journal’s intention of capturing a respected individual perspective. The articles are intended to anticipate the future, but also to influence it. On publication of the first set of Horizons, Philip Campbell, Editor of Nature, wrote: “I hope that these visions will inspire and maybe even encourage some to adjust their research ambitions as a result. Inspired by them ourselves, we’ll be publishing more Horizons in the future.” In its 9 July 2009 issue, Nature published the following four articles, all of which can be accessed online via the Horizons archive page.
The possibility of impossible cultures
Marc D. Hauser
Insights from evolutionary developmental biology and the mind sciences could change our understanding of the human capacity to think and the ways in which the human mind constrains cultural expressions.
Nature 460, 190–196 (9 July 2009).
Synthesis at the molecular frontier
Paul A. Wender & Benjamin L. Miller
Driven by remarkable advances in the understanding of structure and reaction mechanisms, organic synthesis will be increasingly directed to producing bioinspired and newly designed molecules.
Nature 460, 197–201 (9 July 2009).
Biomarkers in psychiatry
Ilina Singh & Nikolas Rose
The use of biomarkers to predict human behaviour and psychiatric disorders raises social and ethical issues, which must be resolved by collaborative efforts.
Nature 460, 202–207 (9 July 2009).
Toxicology for the twenty-first century
The testing of substances for adverse effects on humans and the environment needs a radical overhaul if we are to meet the challenges of ensuring health and safety.
Nature 460, 208–212 (9 July 2009).