Monday, August 20, 2007


I got this badge from Mitluana, who herself rocks more than a dozen peace-parties and needs no soundcheck!

In the real world, today was the first "proper" day at work, as all the hassle with moving rooms seems to have reached the point where people can actually work in their rooms, or at least unpack things and sort their email backlogs.

And not a moment too soon... People actually showing up at the office meant that I could talk to them about teaching, research and all those things I'm supposed to be doing here soon. There will be very little time to prepare for the first courses, but at least now I have a little bit better idea of what is expected of me. I'm very happy that most courses will be done in collaboration with others, or my "stuff" will be a part of something bigger that also involves people from other disciplines.

The potential of this department lies in its structure, it bringing together all these disciplines and approaches. I'm saying this as an "outsider", just looking at what we have here. Of course, as I already know from the past, the interdisciplinary relations are not always easy, and there have been issues, mainly to do with allocating resources fairly between the disciplines, but also disagreements about what constitutes valid research and relevant teaching. This debate, of course, can be either constructive or destructive, and there are examples of both in the history of this department.

I'm not yet convinced if things are better now; there are many indications that they might be, although I'm also picking some signs of the old tensions. I think my views of this whole field of science and what it should aim for have changed during the last few years, and in that light it is clear to me that there is no alternative for collaboration and interdisciplinarity. Cambridge or Oxford don't have these possibilities, so in this sense we could be so much better than they are. We'll see.

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