Whitesides put away his Blackberry, something that sticks to his hands as soon as he is triggered by the results of screenings. “Are you saying”, he asked like a schoolkid, fingers raised high above his cap of black cord, “that classical drug discovery is faltering?” Shoichet ducked under the question, but finally gave in. “I think we went too far”, he said, and at that point, even if he had tried to take polypharmacology to the next level in his presentation prior, he looked very lonely on stage, in his rainbow-coloured socks, the short trousers and his correctly buttoned, dark blue shirt.

The audience payed its praise, indifferently, as if it was a honking car driver trying to make a curve come straight, unable in his mind to prevent the crash. Whitesides, the last soldier of chemistry.