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Table 2 Rephrased questions that led to scientific breakthroughs

From: What is the question?

Lead scientistOriginal questionRefocused question
Marie CurieWhere does the “radioactivity” (a term later coined by Curie herself) come from?How does the radioactive activity depend on the form and quantity of the uranium in a given sample? [7]
Charles DarwinWhy do similar (though not identical) species occupy geographically related niches?Do species split to form distinct species when they are geographically segregated and adapting to different environments? [8]
Kurt GödelCan you make a complete, contradiction-free formal system of all mathematical theorems?Can you use number theory to construct statements that are neither provable nor disprovable in such formal systems? [9]
Barbara McClintockHow are phenotypes controlled on the molecular level?How do genes switch on and off certain characteristics of an organism? [10]
Francisco MojicaWhy do bacteria have CRISPR elements?Can we learn about the function of CRISPR by looking at sequence similarities of the spacers to known sequences? [11]