Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wingate: "hands on" and "outsiders"

From: Richard. Wingate
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2007 06:26:24 -0400 (EDT)

There is indeed great deal of value in a constant explanation and defence of ideas and results with the non-scientist, the "outsider". Best when it’s witha creative mind that has a similar interest in observing, interpreting andunderstanding the world (artists, playwrights, children, sometimes students).However, I’m not sure that the artist in collaboration is necessarily anoutsider. Over the last year or so of hearing Andrew Carnie talk about my work, I feel he invests it with more interest and excitement than I can muster. He explains the concepts equally well and is an excellent advocate for science andscientists. I think, incidentally, that this is something that he has conveyedin some of his postings. So Andrew’s an “insider” but not a benchresearch scientist.Could he be? Well the training is long and hard - there are degrees anddoctorates to be won along the way - and he’s already been through his ownlong and hard professional development, with so many parallels in structure andbenchmarks for achievement. Andrew, what do you think?So when a non-scientist is trained to use a scanning electron microscope(Jill’s observation), the use of the term mimicry is very accurate superficially daunting equipment can be used efficiently and correctly by anyone with a relatively brief training. But these are just tools. Theinstinctive understanding of the significance in form and function -what todiscard and what to leave in is gained through experience and often a greatdeal of scholarship.

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