Interdisciplinary Research

Isn't it ironic that the biology scientists receiving MacArthur fellowships [K.Y. Kreeger, The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 1; T.W. Durso, The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 3] are interested in broadening their studies to areas combining disciplines while university administrations are subdividing disciplines? My own university (the University of Arizona) has subdivided the old biological sciences into (1) ecology and evolutionary biology; (2) microbiology and immunology; and (3) molecular

Robert Chiasson
Oct 13, 1996

Isn't it ironic that the biology scientists receiving MacArthur fellowships [K.Y. Kreeger, The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 1; T.W. Durso, The Scientist, Sept. 2, 1996, page 3] are interested in broadening their studies to areas combining disciplines while university administrations are subdividing disciplines?

My own university (the University of Arizona) has subdivided the old biological sciences into (1) ecology and evolutionary biology; (2) microbiology and immunology; and (3) molecular and cellular biology. In addition, basic science departments in (1) biochemistry; (2) biophysics, and (3) entomology also exist, as do several basic science departments (anatomy, physiology) in the medical college. The latter have several basic scientists (Ph.D.'s vs. M.D.'s). Interdisciplinary research doesn't have the same meaning it had 30 years ago.

Robert B. Chiasson
Professor Emeritus
Department of Veterinary Science
University of Arizona
Tucson, Ariz. 85721
E-mail: chiasson@ccit.arizona.edu

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