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Verschijningsdatum: 19/10/2009

IT TAKES TWO TO DO SCIENCE

The New York Times of December 7, 2008 had a wonderful piece by business columnist Janet Rae-Dupree, entitled 'Teamwork, the true mother of invention'. She started her article thus: 'Despite the enduring myth of the lone genius, innovation does not take place in isolation'.

'The best innovations occur when you have networks of people with diverse backgrounds gathering around a problem,' said Robert Fishkin, President and Chief Executive of Reframeit.

In fact these were the same basic ideas Henri Eisendrath and Jean Paul Van Bendegem had when at the end of the last century, they initiated a series of interdisciplinary study groups and workshops for young researchers at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Once a month, these interdisciplinary seminars brought together VUB professors who came to present the aims, importance, successes and difficulties of the work their research teams were engaged in. The series comprised eleven contributions, providing a balanced image of research done at the VUB.

The titles of these contributions (see contents) clearly reveal that the subjects presented originate from very different fields of study. The discussions very often involved not just specialists in the specific research activity, but also Ph.D. students from other fields. The original intention of the editors of this volume was not merely to present the contributions by the scientists themselves, but also to summarize the discussions that followed. However, this proved to be a formidable task and severely risked resulting in a skewed summary that would not do justice to the speaker or the audience present.

Therefore the editors chose to group the discussions under seven themes:

  • the very definition of science,
  • the tensions between human sciences and exact sciences,
  • the opposition between fundamental science versus applied science,
  • the contrast between 'grand' science versus 'detailed' science,
  • the problem of disciplinary boundaries,
  • the distribution of knowledge over science and society,
  • the creation and disappearance of boundaries.

The editors hope that this book will serve as a catalyst for (young) scientists to understand the importance of teamwork and to enjoy its benefits.

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IT TAKES TWO TO DO SCIENCE
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ISBN: 9789054876052

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