Today instead of going to the lab at ENS-Cachan I went along with Bianca to a seminar that was held in Gif, a small town outside of Paris. Marco Consentino Lagomarsino, a theoretical biophysicist, gave a presentation titled: “A multi-point approach to the bacterial chromosome” to the researchers of the Centre de Recherche de Gif (The Center of Research of Gif). This Research center holds nine different CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research) laboratories that “explore the functions of the living world, their evolution and alterations in numerous pathologies”.
The seminar was very complex, and the scientists in the audience had many questions about the data presented. It was definitely an interdisciplinary meeting, but only within the field of science. In the audience there were computer modelers, biologists, physicists and many other specific types of scientists. It was interesting to listen to the discussions that were held before and after the seminar. These conversations made it very clear that each niche of science has its own philosophy of where to begin scientific research. There were people who claimed that “biologists begin the scientific process with hypotheses, while physicists, they begin with known facts of our world…..” Similar assertions as this were tossed back and forth with a bit of aggression between the scientists.
It is important to learn how scientists interact with one another. If the conversation between a chemist and a biologist is on the margin of being aggressive, how do we expect the conversation to go between a scientist and an anthropologist, or even a philosopher? My presence as a student of philosophy was not scoffed at, a reaction that I usually expect, however I was not a person of interest to the scientists. The usual reaction was a raised eyebrow, followed by a question about my work here, but this never lead to a philosophic discussion. Maybe it is because I am twenty years old, or maybe it is because scientists don’t know how to interact with someone who does not have the technical language of microbiology. But whatever the case maybe be, it is clear that scientists are not familiar with the idea of having someone question any and all aspects of their research.