Interdisciplinarity explained: “Eclectic others, who are smart and fun to have around”

brainnatureI’ve found the following perfect quote in Paul Smaglik’s NatureJobs report on the current human brain mapping efforts of scientists all around the world (emphasis by me): Interdisciplinary groups are trying to combine imaging approaches and analyse them with statistics, and computational and mathematical modelling. Nikos Logothetis, a professor in physiology and cognitive processes at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, has combined data from fMRI and electrophysiology and wants to do both approaches simultaneously, then use “lots and lots of mathematics” to build circuit diagrams.

Karel Svoboda, a group leader at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm campus, says that all 15 neuroscience groups there take a similar approach, but concentrate on specific regions of the cerebral cortex. Janelia plans to add 10–15 more leaders, says Svoboda: investigators examining neural circuits who use imaging tools; physicists, engineers and computational scientists who are building tools; and “eclectic others, who are smart and clever and fun to have around”.

Finally I understood the essence of interdisciplinarity in a sentence fragment. Thanks, Karel Svoboda.