Are The Sciences In a Bad Marriage?

The sciences have been facing something of an internal crisis with researchers and academics dividing themselves into two camps vying for dollars and noteriety like Hollywood celebrities.

Applied science--the approach in which the end goal has real world impact--and research science--where the goal might only be the discovery of a single protein--are the two sides in conflict. But Stephen Quake, a scientist who has been responsible for advances in both camps with his work at Fluidigm, writes that the divide in the sciences is artificial.

Applied and pure science inform each other like two sides of a conversation. Pure science provides the data and findings for applied science to take into the public sphere. Applied science in turn makes headlines that can result in an increased research focus in the laboratory.

"There is an intimate connection between the invention of new technology and its application to scientific discovery," Quake says. Unfortunately, such connections are weakened by private funding which often benights flash-and-bang applied science that makes marketable discoveries with hefty prizes that academic departments need.

Do big thinkers see a need for the divide in the sciences or should the applied and research camps make amends and unite in the name of scientific progress?

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

James Patterson on writing: Plotting, research, and first drafts

The best-selling author tells us his methods.

  • James Patterson has sold 300 million copies of his 130 books, making him one of the most successful authors alive today.
  • He talks about how some writers can overdo it by adding too much research, or worse, straying from their outline for too long.
  • James' latest book, The President is Missing, co-written with former President Bill Clinton, is out now.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less