2016-10-03

 

Update Science's Structure

Sure, I share Popkin's call to Update the Nobel Prizes, but that is just the tip of the iceberg (or the ivory tower). In truth, from universities, to funding bodies and even to the top journals that dictate impact, science has not updated itself to the changing reality. Even Popkin's article fails to discuss the lack of Nobel recognition for Computer Science/Informatics, when this has been the field that most dramatically changed society in the last century. As I like to say, Turing and Von Neumann had much greater impact in the lives of people than Darwin, yet recognition of the field is lacking not only at the Nobel level. You will very rarely see a computer scientist in the top scientific advising bodies in any country (those are typically reserved for Nobel categories). Same is true for editors and thus papers in Nature and Science. But beyond discipline, what is truly lacking is support and recognition for interdisciplinary research, which is needed to actually solve problems---something that both Turing and Von Neumann already excelled at. Nobel's main sin is to actually award prizes per discipline, rather than unconstrained advance. But this is also the sin of most national funding agencies who organize calls within disciplinary walls and prefer to fund the agendas of lead principal investigators from a discipline (props to NIH and somewhat NSF for actually making measurable advances to try to counter this, despite the conservative, disciplinary disposition of universities and scientists alike). Universities too, remain largely organized by traditional disciplines as they were in Mr. Nobel's days. This makes it very hard for teams of scientists to escape the silos of disciplinary training and be collectively rewarded, rather than made to follow the single agenda of a lead investigator---even though we know that no single lab can address the complex challenges of the 21st century.



Labels: , , , ,


Comments:

Post a Comment



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?