"Our Polymaths series brings you up close to two scientists whose breadth of knowledge allowed them not only to leap between subjects, but connect them to make something completely new. In the 21st century, though, scientists need to specialise in very precise parts of their field. With everyone focussing in so close, can anyone see the big picture anymore?
It could be that the sort of deep and diverse knowledge Thomas Young and D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson had isn’t attainable anymore. Is that a bad thing? Scientists risk being labelled dabblers if they stray too far from their discipline, but should they be encouraged instead? After all, science’s giant leaps often come from researchers at the crossroads of several fields. Or is there some other way to manage our increasing knowledge while still producing those flashes of insight?
In this special wrapup to the Polymaths series we’re getting to grips with the intellectuals who knew about everything, and what they mean for today’s science. Oliver Morton, the news editor of Nature and the chair for the previous events, will join the speakers, Andrew Robinson and John Whitfield on stage for a wide-ranging discussion."
Official Website: http://www.rigb.org/rimain/calendar/detail.jsp?&id=329
Added by nico_macdonald on March 16, 2007