At the American Chemical Society meeting last week J.T. Hynes gave a talk
Some modest proposals for 21st century physical chemists
Here are his three main points.
(1) The most familiar problems/phenomena may in fact not be at all already understood, and can provide fertile areas for discovery;
(2) Just an experiment or a theory because it is 'old' (e.g. of a certain vintage) does not mean it is inferior/wrong despite the lack of novelty and modernity;
(3) Simple, well-constructed analytic models have a significant role to play in comprehending and advancing both theory and experiment.
Unfortunately, I was not at the meeting, but my colleague Seth Olsen was and told me I would have enjoyed the talk. These points certainly resonate with my own views.