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Is Cutthroat Science Hindering Discovery?

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Is Cutthroat Science Hindering Discovery? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

From left to right: Lindy Elkins-Tanton and Lisa Margonelli. Courtesy of Zócalo Public Square

A Zócalo/Issues in Science and Technology Event

Laboratories around the world are under fire for their lack of diversity, a culture of harassment and bullying, rigid hierarchies, and research that cannot be reproduced. Is the entire research system to blame? Our model of funding individual scientists encourages cutthroat competition rather than a cooperative infrastructure better tailored to solving our biggest problems. In a recent article for Issues in Science and Technology, NASA mission lead and ASU professor Lindy Elkins-Tanton argues for a radical restructuring of the way we do research—divesting from big names and instead deploying teams to focus on big questions and ambitious goals. Can egalitarian, interdisciplinary groups of experts reshape research for the better? How will breaking away from the current model open the floodgates for more invention and discovery?

NASA’s Psyche mission principal investigator and ASU Interplanetary Initiative vice president Lindy Elkins-Tanton and Issues in Science and Technology editor in chief Lisa Margonelli visit Zócalo to talk about untethering the academic research model from the cult of personality in order to take on humanity’s biggest problems.

Zócalo is proud to partner with Issues in Science and Technology, a quarterly journal published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and Arizona State University, to present discussions focused on the intersection of science, technology and public policy.

Past Events in this Series

Scientists Don’t Have to Be Heroes | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Scientists Don’t Have to Be Heroes

How NASA and ASU Astronomer Lindy Elkins-Tanton Is Dismantling the Personality-Driven Culture of the Research Laboratory

Two decades ago, NASA’s Psyche mission principal investigator and ASU Interplanetary Initiative vice president Lindy Elkins-Tanton was working toward her PhD at MIT. It was a place she loved, but …

How Can Inventors Respond to the Real-World Effects of Their Inventions? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Can Inventors Respond to the Real-World Effects of Their Inventions?

A More Holistic Approach to the Field Can Make Technology Better for Society

What is it like to be an inventor? Are inventors responsible for the societal ramifications of their creations? And how could a more holistic approach to innovation lead future scientists …

How Will Robot Trucks Change American Life? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Will Robot Trucks Change American Life?

For All the Promise of Automotive Trucking, the Future of Our Freight System Has a Human Problem

Robotic trucks are beginning to roll out, carrying cargo and promises of revolutionizing freight hauling, reducing traffic, and lowering pollution. But previous waves of automation have eliminated millions of jobs …

Can Innovation Really Solve Society’s Problems? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can Innovation Really Solve Society’s Problems?

To Reckon With Today’s Greatest Challenges, We Need to Rethink Innovation Itself

Since World War II, the United States has famously funded research to advance all fields of science and innovation, fueling new disease-fighting drugs, increasing economic productivity, and sparking an information …