Today’s young scientists are under enormous pressure. Setting up new labs, teaching courses for the first time and conducting publication-worthy research all at the same time can take it’s toll. But, some young researchers are learning about — and putting into practice — collective leadership, which they hope will lead to a much-needed institutional makeover for science.
Scientists have long used physical traits to shed light on evolutionary relationships. Sometimes this has worked, like using lactation to group mammals. And, sometimes, it hasn’t: people once thought bats were featherless birds! Today, evolutionary biologists rely more heavily on molecular-based phylogenies to resolve relatedness. But, what they haven’t been able to do is address big picture questions about how observable traits (phenotypes) evolve across higher taxa.
The Reintegrating Biology workshop series uses KI’s methods of deliberate creativity to identify new research questions that could be addressed by combining approaches and perspectives from different subdisciplines of biology, the key challenges and scientific gaps that must be addressed to answer these questions, and the physical infrastructure and workforce training needed.
Our love affair with the ocean runs deep. Humans love to live next to the sea, honeymoon on islands and dream about summer road trips to the beach while tapping away at our keyboards. During lobster and crab season, we enjoy the food, community and culture of the Northeast U.S. Likewise, we celebrate shrimp and red snapper seasons on the Gulf Coast and halibut and salmon seasons in the Pacific Northwest. But, what if those seasons change or don’t come at all?
Scientists think that about 25 percent of our universe is made up of stuff you can’t see or feel. They’ve named this non-luminescent mystery material dark matter. Some think dark matter is hot (HDM) while others think its cold (CDM). And, yes, some say – you guessed it – warm (WDM). The cold theory has the most support to date. But, even within camp CDM, physicists don’t agree on what it’s made of. It could be made of WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles). Or, appropriately enough, MACHOs. (We’re not making this up!)
Scientists have been grappling with the problem of predicting human performance for years. They know that a better understanding of human performance would allow us to do everything from improving the well-being of medical students to changing the way athletes train, perform and recover. Now, a wealth of new technology is promising to fundamentally change our basic understanding of human performance and pave the way for a variety of applications that will increase our health, safety, and productivity.
Feeding the planet in the 21st century means doubling production of food, feed, fuel and energy while at the same time making food systems sustainable, inclusive and more efficient. It’s a food-health-ecosystem trilemma. CSU researchers are forming interdisciplinary teams in order to come up with innovative ways of meeting the challenge.
So much depends on getting the right people in the room. A workshop designed to produce innovative outcome can fail – even with the perfect agenda design and the most astute facilitators – if the people who’ve been assembled don’t have the right spirit and motivation to help it succeed. But how do you get the right minds in the right place?
What happens when diverse groups of researchers are forced to catalyse and collide and collaborate? Questions arise that wouldn’t otherwise have been posed, and partnerships form between people from very different scientific disciplines. That’s what often makes the output of Sandpits (aka Ideas Labs) unique and innovative