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Asking the Right Questions

Scientists are curious. That’s what draws us into this line of work. Our work is an endless cycle of asking questions and generating answers that lead to more questions. No scientists are more curious than those who do their asking and answering in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Ours is not an idle curiosity. Our mission is to generate knowledge that the people of Wisconsin – and the rest of the world – can put to use to meet challenges and opportunities head on. Generating useful knowledge depends on asking the right questions. As part of this, we also train new scientists, so that we can be sure that the questions and answers will keep on coming.
It’s not enough to ask the right questions. We also have to anticipate what will be important in the future. Generating knowledge takes time. Ideally, we should begin looking for answers before our stakeholders – Wisconsin’s policymakers, business people, farmers, families, and communities – start asking the questions. By looking ahead, we hope to have responses when called upon.
The pages that follow offer examples of how our scientists have anticipated important questions and applied their curiosity to find needed answers. Your comments about this report and College programs are welcome.

Elton Aberle
Dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Director, Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station