May

19

"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people." - Shaw

Frame of reference is critical. We may go beyond the idea of the quote above by considering the viewpoints and knowledge of those involved. I am talking about more than the old lion phenomenon, where the old lions hate their younger successors and rehash the ideas of the past.

What if the problem can be solved through application of concepts foreign to the people in the discipline? Crackpots fail because they search for their new ideas too far into the wilderness. The Chair is one who exemplifies the search for useful new concepts in the knowledge of other disciplines. I recently built an effective combined experimental and computational model for a toxicology problem that the toxicologists said couldn't possibly work. They owe me a beer because their frame of reference (standard toxicology) was wrong for the problem, when my frame of reference (spectroscopy and computational modeling) easily explained what was happening.


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