Disciplinary retreat

As in retreating to one’s disciplinary silo. Not a good thing, but unfortunately all too common in challenging funding environments. In an email exchange this morning, several of us have been discussing how important transdisciplinary research really is. One of my faculty members pointed out that it’s the really unconventional stuff that’s getting support right now. That’s the science that has tendrils across disciplines…as in a blend.

And now, in the tradition of Andrew Sullivan’s Blog, here’s the view outside my office window here in Woods Hole…

Beyond the oceanographic research vessels you can see the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

MBL Corporation meeting

Today is the high point (at least as far as activity goes) for summer bioscience in Woods Hole–the first Friday in August when the annual Corporation meeting coincides with the hallowed traditions of the Friday Evening Lectures. This morning, the campus of the MBL is pristine, the ocean deep blue and the next three hours will bring together the elected scientists who make up the MBL Corporation–I’m proud to call myself one of them.

MBL is such a unique asset for biology–the tag-line “Biological Discovery in Woods Hole” pretty much telegraphs what has been going on here for 120 years. During the summer, with the internationally recognized educational program, the summer investigators who move their labs here to take advantage of both the marine diversity but also the scientific diversity of thought, and the distinctly non-hierarchical milieu–new biological discoveries, really paradigm breaking discoveries, have happened here regularly.
Perhaps there is a lesson here for the academy.