Archive for the ‘#interdisciplinary_research’ Tag

The Renaissance man: how to become a scientist over and over again | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine   Leave a comment

“Erez Lieberman Aiden is a talkative witty fellow, who will bend your ear on any number of intellectual topics. Just don’t ask him what he does. “This is actually the most difficult question that I run into on a regular basis,” he says. “I really don’t have anything for that.”

It is easy to understand why. Aiden is a scientist, yes, but while most of his peers stay within a specific field – say, neuroscience or genetics – Aiden crosses them with almost casual abandon. His research has taken him across molecular biology, linguistics, physics, engineering and mathematics. He was the man behind last year’s “culturomics” study, where he looked at the evolution of human culture through the lens of four per cent of all the books ever published. Before that, he solved the three-dimensional structure of the human genome, studied the mathematics of verbs, and invented an insole called the iShoe that can diagnose balance problems in elderly people. “I guess I just view myself as a scientist,” he says.”

AN: although the profile of Erez is from last year, nonetheless, it is still highly  inspiring. All of us  can expand our own particular fields of interest by taking a multi / cross/ inter- diciplinary approach to our questionings. The TED talk with Erez and his colleague ,Jean-Baptiste Michel , in 2011 is insightful and delightful !

via The Renaissance man: how to become a scientist over and over again | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine.

Interdisciplinary studies: Seeking the right toolkit : Nature : Nature Publishing Group   Leave a comment

Information and knowledge is interconnected so why should learning and research not also be mixed ?

“Interdisciplinary graduate programmes have been around for decades. But until Bio-X began awarding fellowships in 2004, most programmes did not attempt to integrate the biological and physical sciences, and many served mainly to funnel undecided students toward specific departments.

This year, a white paper co-authored by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge called for a more ambitious fusion of disciplines, seeking to combine technologies and know-how into a powerful model of innovation (P. A. Sharp et al. The Third Revolution: The Convergence of the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering MIT, 2011). That ideal has been embraced by a host of research centres that house researchers from a mixture of fields in shared facilities that promote interaction.

Such institutions include the Clark Center at Stanford, home to the Bio-X programme. The centre’s open-plan building hosts 44 labs spanning the gamut of disciplines, although faculty members housed there retain their departmental appointments. “Think of it like Noah’s ark. The idea was to put two of everything in there, and let them breed and see what happens,” says Carla Shatz, director of Bio-X.



Bozeman says that boundary stretching is most welcome in research fields that have seen a lot of change in recent years, such as biology and engineering. Other fields that might accept an interdisciplinary mindset, such as mathematics, are in relatively low demand by employers. The chances of making practical use of an interdisciplinary degree may be best, says Bozeman, when that research focus evolves into an established field of its own. Booms in synthetic biology, biophysics, nanobiology and systems biology over the past few years suggest that being in the right place at the right time can pay off for a nascent career.

Some universities are trying out hiring initiatives that will benefit unconventional researchers. For example, Michigan Technological University in Houghton has based some of its recruitment decisions over the past five years not on individual departments, but on multidisciplinary research themes. The first of these, sustainability, brought in seven faculty members with nontraditional joint appointments such as social sciences paired with forest resources and environmental science. “They will be the catalysts of increased interactions between the departments,” says Max Seel, the university’s provost and head of the hiring initiative. Other themes include computing innovation, energy and health.”

via Interdisciplinary studies: Seeking the right toolkit : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.

Posted August 13, 2011 by arnoneumann in Innovation

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