Come Together

Biology is getting bigger.

Richard Gallagher(
Feb 13, 2005

Biology is getting bigger. Lab equipment is larger, better, and most importantly, faster. Scientists collect billions of data points in high-throughput "discovery science," potentially yielding a whole new level of detail. We're no longer just looking through the keyhole of biological interactions; we're actually forcing open the door. All this technology, and its ability to give us a far richer understanding of biology, is to be celebrated, as Peer Schatz, CEO of Qiagen, a leading life science company, does on page 40 of this issue.

But what does such technology, and the enormous teams of scientists it requires, mean for the individual scientist? Are scientists destined to become drones in some superfactory of data generation and computer analysis? Or can we maintain science is a personal pursuit? If you can't control your own research destiny, how attractive will science be?

Consider two models of the large-scale organization of science, which...