Weekend Cool Science (Gecko Edition)

I’m a huge nerd – and I’m OK with that. I have great respect for science, even the parts of it outside of my narrow medical field. Also, my traffic on the weekends drops a ton, so I figure people aren’t really paying attention to any medical writing I throw down on the weekend. So from now on on the weekend my posts will be about cool sciencey goings on outside of whatever our current topic of discussion is.

This week, I was watching this TED talk by Robert Full and wanted to share it with you guys.

It’s about biology, medicine, and the ways they can feed back on one another to advance both. It’s pretty awesome, go watch! I’ll wait here.

What does it have to do with medicine? Damn near nothing. It’s just cool.

Except at the very end where Full mentions redesigning education. He mentions the need to explicitly train us to talk across disciplines to collaborate. I think that’s so important. Paraphrasing Asimov (I told you I was a huge nerd), overspecialization cuts knowledge at a thousand points and leaves it bleeding. Many of the most awesome scientific and medical discoveries come from collaborations from disparate fields. Despite this, we receive surprisingly little education on how to talk to someone in a different field.

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10 Comments on “Weekend Cool Science (Gecko Edition)”

  1. JLK Says:

    You bring up my absolute favorite part about being a member of the blogging community – learning things that are totally outside of my field, interacting with people who are entirely outside my field, and making connections between my field and theirs.

    I love collaboration, and wish there was a lot more of it. But even in psychology, there’s a huge disconnect among the different specialties and it drives me crazy because I think everyone’s science suffers when we become overly specialized and myopic.

    • It’s one of my favorite parts as well.
      I also feel like when I’m educating someone else as to something in my field it forces me to get a broader understanding of my own thoughts.

      Often I realise new implications of things I already thought I “knew” when I cross disciplines. One of the many reasons I think that idea is so important.

  2. leigh Says:

    as a pharmacologist, i have actually had medical doctors tell me they felt a bit professionally intimidated by me, because i probably knew more about the drugs they prescribed than they did. or that i might ask them a question they couldn’t answer without looking it up.

    i never know what to say when i hear that.

    • Let’s be honest. We’re very egotistical beings. Most doctors (not me) have been told their whole lives that they’re the best – in high school, college, med school, residency, it has an effect. It doesn’t help that and our role with our patients is SUPPOSED to be as the “expert.”
      We don’t always do so well outside that box.

      • leigh Says:

        ha, i never thought of it that way before. this is why it’s cool to have this dialog going…

        it never seems to do much when i say that i’ve never prescribed anything to anyone. hm.

  3. Katherine Says:

    I think we all know the reason traffic drops during the weekend 😛

    Glad to see you’re back and posting 😀

  4. catgirl Says:

    I’m glad to find out that I’m not the only person who reads blogs only at work. I guess that’s what most people do.

    • leigh Says:

      crap, that explains a lot… i’m perpetually working. these 2-minute breaks after completing a measurable piece of work are a real lifesaver though.

  5. Esattezza Says:

    Haha, you ARE a huge nerd WcT… but I watch TED talks and read Asimov too, so I guess we’re a good match. Just thought you should know I’m back online. Keep writing!

  6. Nerds unite!

    You’re too young WCT to be at the forefront of nerdness, but my father bought me one of the first programmable HP handheld calculators (HP-65) before heading off to college. I have no clue how much it cost, but it was probably close to $500, or about $15 million in todays dollars (give or take a few million, dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a economist). Yes, I also watched Star Trek (or ST:TOS for those of serious Star Trek nerdiness).

    You’re a long way to being admitted into the serious Nerd Association.

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