Outsider Scientists – a lecture series

Prof. Oren Harman | 13.01.2021 | Photo: Unsplash

How can original thought and a new understanding of reality be brought into science and lead to exceptional results? By the appearance of “outsiders,” people with different perspectives.

The “outsiders,” in this case, are scientists who enter fields unfamiliar to them, innovate them and lead to dramatic results. We know of physicists who turned to biology to use the tools they acquired in order to solve the mysteries of life and heredity, mathematicians who revolutionized ecology, psychologists who revolutionized economics, and philosophers who tried and continue to try to influence scientific discussions of a range of subjects – from the meaning of parallel universes to the ethics of the Internet.

The fourth season of the series Talking about Science in the 21st Century , led by Prof. Oren Harman, focuses on different kinds of “outsiders” currently working in science. Among the subjects and participants in the series are a physicist studying ant behavior, an artist redefining the relationship between humans and nature and the environment, and a molecular biologist who wishes to revolutionize the food industry. With them we will try to understand how the meeting between one language and another can create a completely new understanding of reality.

All of the lectures will be broadcast live on the Van Leer website, on its Facebook page and on YouTube.

For further reading, please see the introduction of the book “Outsider Scientists: Routes to Innovation in Biology” by Oren Harman and Michael Dietrich from the University of Pittsburgh, where they discuss the significance of “outsiders.”

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