I have been watching a BBC Documentary on Youtube about the discovery of the Atom. Beginning with the tragic demise of the vilified Boltzmann, the story goes on to explain why he was in fact correct about his theories, and proven so before he committed suicide by none other than Einstein. Working in a separate project, the young physicist discovered the reasons for Brownian motion, in which pollen grains dance on the surface of water. Einstein was able to show that the kinetic energy of the individual atoms within the water were resulting in the microscopic movements of the tiny pollen grains.
The same principle can be seen in society, in which ideas are pushed one way and another by the perspectives of the individual people who hold them. This social Brownian motion occurred at this time with the development of atomic theory as steam power was becoming a huge driving force in not only trains but for the general progress of society. Military, industry, and transport were all making use of this then new technology. Finding the rules that define the way it behaves was paramount for understanding the engineering required to harness the maximum potential of it.
After the apparent discovery of the atom by Einstein, it took a few years for the scientific community to adopt the ideas as the standard. Many critics believed that the essence of material was infinite, and could be divided indefinitely. This spurred many new discoveries about what the atoms consist of, and how they behave in various forms. Being able to think about the world in new ways in order to solve the challenges of scientific discovery is how many pioneering thinkers have predicted and then proven the way things work. The logical steps to discovery are taken by different thinkers at different times, and once the whole perspective is formed, the defining points can be made.
Society is always evolving, and the way we choose to look at the world is always up for speculative critique. Listening to others who have identified truths in their own way and then putting them into action with processes known in other ways, results in deeper and greater understanding. This can be worked into any route of progress, science is not exclusive to this method of growth. Anything that is undertaken by people is up for evolution, and this is driven by the thoughts, ideas, and goals of those who partake at the time.
I recommend you watch the documentary for yourself, to see what I mean. I have embedded it into this post.