A segment of the crystal structure of a zeolite. Imaging by Sergio Pineda
A segment of the crystal structure of a zeolite. Imaging by Sergio Pineda

Interdisciplinarity is a dominant buzzword in academic research – but can it really enhance how people from different disciplines work together, and what challenges does it represent?

The philosophy of science has often been about the clarification of what a reliable method for establishing reliable knowledge about the world might be. But outside the natural sciences, other disciplines are based on their own assumptions about how they should investigate and intervene in the world. One consequence of this is that it becomes hard to promote a ‘philosophy’ of collaboration, a clear approach to what it means for scientists and others to work together.

In this cafe, Sergio Pineda (Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff) looks at the philosophy of collaboration from the point of view of a new project that brings together a team of architects in partnership with a team of crystallographers. The project proposes that designers can learn from the structure of matter at the atomic and molecular level, and that features found within matter at the nanoscale yield potentially transformative diagrams for design at a variety of scales. By exploring what happens when researchers invite collaborators from seemingly ‘foreign’ disciplines into their workspace, this cafe will also explore how advances in scientific imaging make possible new visions of aesthetics, art and design.

Join us next Tuesday, 21 July, from 8.00pm in the cafe bar at The Gate.

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