You might think that my favorite magazine would be the New Yorker, or Granta, but in fact it's the New Scientist. New Scientist is the British equivalent of Scientific American, a serious but popular journal about science. (I should mention a much newer publication, Seed, that aims to connect science and culture, too, and will write something about it soon, too.) New Scientist has come up in two conversations this week, as an essential point of reference. The first with Alex Pang, editor of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of the 21st [...]
I am in Atlanta, Georgia, on a quick visit to meet two remarkable people working on global sustainability issues, C.S. Kiang, dean of the new College of Environmental Sciences at Peking University, and Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface. This new work on sustainability, especially with the China connection, is rapidly expanding our networks. One striking development is all the scientists I'm now talking to. But they're not narrow-minded, stuck-in-the-lab scientists, and they appreciate the contributions from other fields, too. These are people who engage vividly with the world [...]
I was at a "Lunch with a Commissioning Editor" at the World Congress of History Producers last month and experienced something called seriality, or better synchronicity, when the editor, Jennifer Batty, mentioned having received four proposals on the same subject one day, from people scattered across Europe. I had just been reading about this concept so it was synchronity to have her mention it at all. I bring this up because I've been meaning to write about the book that introduced me to the idea, Arthur Koestler's 1971 The Case [...]
I seem to be writing a lot about interdisciplinary thinking these days, a good thing considering the work we’re undertaking on the future, and sustainability! The latest article is called “Marvin Mudrick and his Chickens,” and I wrote this one for the UCSB Coastlines magazine. I graduated from the College of Creative Studies at UCSB, and Marvin Mudrick was the English professor and iconoclastic critic who founded the College (which we graduates–numbering less than 2,000 in its 40-year history–usually call CCS). Mudrick got me excited about science, even though I [...]
Serendipity. Thumbing through The Author, a publication of my favorite writers organization, the UK Society of Authors (I first became an author in the UK, and one of my publishers even describes me as a British woman who now owns a publishing company in the United States!), I came across this wonderful project, SciTalk, designed to connect scientists with writers. Please recommend it to your colleagues, and I'll be trying it out, too. Maybe it'll help solve the problem I've discussed in "Becoming Interdisciplinary" (Academia, August 2006).
I've been writing lately about interdisciplinary thinking and scholarship, and the first article, "Becoming Interdisciplinary: A publisher's perspective," is published today in the August issue of YBP's online magazine, Academia. I point out that "interdisciplinary efforts should span broad divides such as the one between science and the arts, but although people pay lip service to the notion of interdisciplinarity and collaborative work, university departments are judged by the number of students they attract and the grants they get--which means they're in competition with one another. It's hard to cooperate [...]