This meeting was held March 31-April 2, 2011 at the AAAS Auditorium, in Washington, D.C. and was organized by Rita Colwell, Christopher Field, Jeffrey Shaman, and Susan Solomon
Climate science is addressing issues that require an increasingly interdisciplinary perspective, posing new challenges to scientists and to the organization and support of this science. Like other interdisciplinary activities, recognition and support of interdisciplinary climate science by the broader scientific community—including university and government administrators, journal editors and reviewers, and funding agencies—is advancing slowly. Often it is easier to recognize ideas that would represent major advances within a discipline, than ideas that would provide major advances but cut across multiple disciplinary foundations. This circumstance poses a challenge to interdisciplinary research and may slow interdisciplinary scientific advances. Such issues are of particular significance for studies of climate impacts, which may, for example,represent linkages between physical and social science, as well as feedbacks among physical, chemical and biological systems.
This Sackler Colloquium will provide a forum for addressing these issues. Specifically: How are high-quality interdisciplinary scientific ideas best recognized and nurtured in their nascent phase? How can we improve this recognition process so as to better support interdisciplinary climate science advances? The colloquium will examine the history of successful, innovative interdisciplinary scientific advances, drawing on experience not only in climate science but also in other fields. The purpose of the colloquium is to identify patterns in the evolutions of research in these areas. Are there common characteristics and/or principles that allowed critical efforts to succeed, thereby leading to significant advances? Did they begin as small concepts or as big, break-out ideas? How were these efforts nurtured, supported, or hindered? At what career stages were the primary researchers? How might future, novel interdisciplinary ideas in climate science be better identified?
Teaser image by: Christine Zenino (2009)