Can the epic problem of the mind, "the experience of our matter," the first-person experience, be modeled?
Jonah Lehrer writes about one attempt to do just that, the Blue Brain project.
Physics has a long history of breakthroughs fueled by conceptual ambition. Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein could conceptualize problems and answers by building abstract models using the accurate symbology of math, or drawing upon artful metaphors to visualize the unknowable. As Lehrer has pointed out elsewhere, one of Niels Bohr's central insights was that the world of electrons was essentially a Cubist world.