Ultimately, science comes down to the individual mind grappling with something mysterious.
Physics World magazine recently asked physicists to nominate the most beautiful experiment of all time. The 10 winners were largely solo performances, involving at most a few assistants.
What they have in common is that they epitomize the elusive quality scientists call beauty. This is beauty in the classical sense; confusion and ambiguity are momentarily swept aside, and something new about nature becomes clear.