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Wall Street Journal: More Scientists Treat Experiments as a Team Sport

November 20, 2009

…from the Wall Street Journal

Massive Collider, a Global Collaboration, Has a Bumpy Start; but Sometimes the Work of Crowds Yields Wisdom

“If all goes well, researchers Friday may power up the Large Hadron Collider — a $6 billion particle accelerator near Geneva. The atom smasher is so large that a brief status report lists 2,900 authors, so complex that scientists in 34 countries have readied 100,000 computers to process its data, and so fragile that a bird dropping a bread crust can short-circuit its power supply — as occurred earlier this month.

“Far from trouble-free, the proton accelerator is resuming operations after a catastrophic breakdown in 2008 that triggered a year of repairs and recriminations. Its large research teams operate on such an elaborate scale that project management has become one of science’s biggest challenges.

“Around the world, scientists are cutting across boundaries of place, organization and technical specialty to conduct ever more ambitious experiments. Inspired by such cooperative enterprises as Linux and Wikipedia, they are encouraging creative collaborations through networks of blogs, wikis, shared databases and crowd-sourcing.”

  1. November 20, 2009 12:07 pm

    I love that CERN is getting so much attention in the press. We have seen lots of people creating forums for greater communication amongst scientists now we need to start shifting the culture to learn how to protect IP and collaborate in meaningful ways.


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