Readers' reactions

March 19, 1999

Last week in The THES Susan Greenfield asked what is wrong with the way we do science in Britain?

Bill Thompson PhD student Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

I am a fully qualified architect with an MSc in spatial analysis, currently back at university seeking to explain the nature of the connection between people and buildings. I have been described as a talented and creative scientist yet not one funding agency is interested in my subject area because it is massively cross-disciplinary and they cannot relate it to existing patterns of success in their own fields of research. I have been asked by a successful researcher in psych-ology: "Why do you want to know about physiology? You are an architect."

I am not deterred, but Susan Greenfield (whom I quite admire) has got it wrong. There is no problem with science, the problem is that too many mortgages and lifestyles are based on "the way things are". Understandably, people would rather not lose their jobs or their salary levels.

The real problem is that interdisciplinary research is undervalued in contemporary society.

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