Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Letter Re "Sunset of the Solo Scientist," WSJ

Jonah Lehrer treats the corporatization of the Scientific Endeavor as
a seemingly bad thing. Until the turn of the last century, Science
was a gentleman's occupation, progressing relatively leisurely;
sparks of genius came only slowly --relying on the development of
foundational knowledge by earlier generations. Science has since
grown up to become the corporate monolith it is today. Not out of
necessity, however, but out of opportunity. Developments in fast and
cheap communication have afforded scientists the prospect to further
their longstanding culture of sharing and collaboration. This
real-time sharing has resulted in multidisciplinary teams pushing
further and deeper by relentless specialization and the development of
highly specific technical knowledge. And those solo geniuses --often
the visionaries and driving forces behind the collaborative efforts,
are still there, but instead of standing out on the heads of giants,
the giants are now available to stand and work with them.

Dov Greenbaum, JD MPhil PhD; Mark Gerstein, PhD

Unpublished letter in response to:
Jonah Lehrer's "Sunset of the Solo Scientist," WSJ (C12, 2/5/2011)