Embryo project investigates agents of change in science

the project, researchers will develop a "collaboratory" where a database of documents and interpretive materials will be compiled and linked together, according to Maienschein. Research articles developed through the project will then link to the database to produce an interpretive encyclopedia. The tools are being developed in conjunction with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science's Virtual Laboratory, which Laubichler has helped organize.

Investigating the legal, religious, political and technical factors involved in the development of embryo research requires the expertise of a wide range of researchers. "The project is interdisciplinary and multi-disciplined, in that it is establishing the best available scholarly study of a variety of different factors at different intervals of time," Maienschein said.

She added that the project brings together "researchers who would normally be working in their separate fields," in an effort to break down the boundaries that separate different academic disciplines. "Often the best work comes when researchers have to speak to an audience that doesn't share their assumptions," she said.

Funding for the grant will begin in January 2007, but Maienschein and her colleagues have already gotten a head start on the research and scheduled a workshop for this October. The workshop will examine embryo research from 1940 to 1970 in an effort to interpret patterns of change in that scientific discipline.

Workshops will continue twice a year for the duration of the project. Each time, experts from their respective fields will come together to work on an interpretation of what factors are driving change in embryo research during a certain period of time.


Contact: Skip Derra
Arizona State University

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