The notion of sharing scientific equipment is absolutely central to science. In my first days as a young aspiring scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, working on a phenomenon called sponge cell reaggregation, in an invertebrate zoology class this was drilled into me.
The equipment used to ask scientific questions, especially in biosciences, are extremely costly, but they are key enablers of researchers. One needs access to such equipment to conduct experiments and test hypotheses. Using grant money or even institutional funds to purchase duplicate instruments is not only often wasteful, it promotes the sort of silo mentality, more commonly found in other sectors.
The collegiality of scientists as they share instrumentation, without demand for compensation, is one of the characteristics of the profession which really sets it apart from others. It helps create a fellowship that transcends borders, disciplines and even scientific disagreement (which can be vehement).
I’m very proud of the state-of-the-art shared instrumentation at Krasnow, but even more proud of the way our investigators share the tools they need.