Works and Days

Notes from a Paris Biology Lab, Presidents Summer Fellowship, Ch 2

open notebook with laboratory notes

Lab notes

Hello! I am starting the beginning of my fourth week of my internship here in Paris! Wow, time goes by very quickly.

Today I read a great article called Disciplinarity: An Introduction by David R. Shumway and Ellen Messer-Davidow. It had a sweeping overview of the history of disciplinary education, and cited many of the current scholars of the transdisciplinary revolution that is catching on in academia. It was fascinating, and I hope to re-read it later tonight. I also did some research on William Whewell, a 19th c. polymath. He wrote on so many subjects that it is hard to get an idea of his character, but it is clear that he was an influential thinker in Britain. He is most well-known for his philosophy of science, history of science and moral philosophy (SEP). Some neat facts about him are that he coined the term "scientist," and that before him scientists were "called natural philosophers." Ha! The irony! I wonder how many scientists are aware of the philosophic implications behind their title…. Whewell was also very close to the influential scientists of his time. Darwin, Faraday and others would come to him to invent terms such as “anode,” “cathode,” and “ion” (those were invented for Faraday). Anyways, Whewell is someone who I hope to do more reading on. He seems like a great mind and his work is very pertinent to my studies.

Lab Notes

The rest of my day I spent working on my writing as well as researching other interdisciplinary institutions. I learned about the structure of INIT, PIN and td-net. It will be interesting to ask CRI what they know of these institutions, and find out what programs CRI works with instead of these networks. Tomorrow I hope to continue my research, and begin to design an idea to propose to Bianca on Wednesday. She is building a website for her team, and I want to help design a section entitled something like “Broader Impacts”. In this section I would explain my presence in her lab, and then offer other ways for her group to integrate with the humanities. It would be an opportunity for her to show that her team is unique in that they are open to having philosophers in the lab, and that they are aware of the upcoming avalanche.

A toute!

-Maya Frodeman, Reed College ‘15

Tags: psf, biology, lab, paris, research, presidents summer fellowship