Improvisation in our scientific practice

In the day to day of science, Cibele Falkenberg described one version of scientific improvisation that she came upon as she prepared her ‘research in progress’ talk for the Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling at University of Connecticut Health Center. “Yes, and” is one of the main principles and practices of improvisation. Actors work to hear and accept everything that has been said and done by their partners. Accepting what has been done is the “Yes”. Cibele saw in her literature review that biological systems modeled from a polymer theory approach were limited to systems with up to 2 types of  binding sites. This was her “Yes”- accepting the state of the field. The “and” is what an actor does new to add to the scene. Cibele proposed to develop a numerical method to model the biological systems as a multi-valent system of as many types as you need. Cibele almost titled her slide summarizing what already existed and proposing her next direction as “Yes, And.” When scientists propose experiments and directions for their research, we take what has already been done into account. In fact, we spend many years learning to read the literature and do experiments in order to add to and build the scientific scene.  As scientists learn more about improvisation and our ability to perform, we will add to our understanding of performing science.

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