Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cross-disciplinary interactions.

Happy New Year to you all! I have so much to tell you about my meeting, etc., but will have to bite the task off in little chunks if I am to succeed. To be perfectly honest, my normal blogging time has been superseded by streaming episodes of Doc Martin (

Just a note today that I recently received a scholarly article in the e-mail by a professor in the economics department. Here's the story:

The student cafeteria has a special on Tuesdays in which it only costs faculty $2 to eat, so we swarm there in droves for the cheap, good food. We also sit together with the other faculty that happen to eat at the same time. Here's the critical thing; everywhere else I've ever been, lunch time has been subdivided by discipline or even sub-discipline. My last post-doc had people that ate by sub-sub-discipline; the 7-TM receptor people never ventured over to the ion channel people's table (I exaggerate, but still). Well, that's simply not possible here at this small university where there are (at max) two people in your subdiscipline. In addition, the faculty know each other well from whole-faulty retreats, etc.

So on a day last fall, it was like the beginning of a joke; An economist, a philosopher and a neuroscientist sit down to lunch...

We talked in-depth about Neuroeconomics. Hence began an very grass-roots cross-disciplinary discussion betwixt us. As much as science strives to place cross- disciplinary folks in proximity to each other, to varying degrees of success, at a small school like this there simply isn't the critical mass of specialists to sub-divide and "silo" themselves. So I get to learn more and more about things that are peripherally related to my field. I guess when we say its a Liberal Arts education, that counts for the Faculty as well.

1 comment:

  1. oooh just perfect. Next week I'm starting a series is life at Quaint College for you. I'm SO linking to this post b/c interdisciplinarity is on my list of planned topics.