Science is becoming ever more inter-discplinary
February 10, 2011 § 2 Comments
N. Venkateswaran, the founder director of the Waran Research Foundation in Chennai India, told the Hindu Times “that interdisciplinary research will usher in the convergence of different fields in a meaningful way.” Though he thinks that such research is lacking, he is a scientist and researcher working on interdisciplinary research, as one example of his work involves DNA interactions employed to evolve novel processor architecture.
Though Venkateswaran is based in India, he may be part of an international trend happening in the sciences as a whole. Interdisciplinary study is being increasingly pursued and recognized as a valuable effort in scientific researcher. For example, Mary “Cindy” Farach-Carson, named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science last month, was chosen as a fellow for “distinguished contributions to the field of bone physiology and contributions to the promotion of interdisciplinary research and science dissemination.” Farach-Carson is just one of many scientists participating in interdisciplinary research, and many more will be needed as science moves in this direction.
An important factor in scientific research is grants, or funding. In January, the National Science Foundation awarded a $2.9 million grant to Oregon State University’s Linking Individuals, Families and Environments (LIFE) in an Aging Society program. This program will train students and involves researchers from the health sciences, human sciences and engineering fields.
Universities are also moving in this direction not just with their research, but also with their education opportunities, like starting degree programs in the interdisciplinary sciences. The Kansas University School of Engineering, beginning fall 2011, will offer a program in interdisciplinary computing. Students will be able to study computer science with a focus in one of five fields: physics, geography, chemistry, biology, and astronomy. Students who major in the interdisciplinary sciences, or who choose to major in two or more fields to be interdisciplinary, stand a good chance of fitting in the future job market.