place
people tools ideas live about
index
cern hubble antarctica las cuevas cold spring arecibo
CERN:
Matter
Hubble:
Universe
Antarctica:
Extremes
Las Cuevas:
Biodiversity
Cold Spring:
DNA
Arecibo:
Astrobiology

Science is a social activity, and its progress depends on researchers sharing information. Throughout the world, scientists by the thousands collaborate, compete, and constantly expand our understanding. Their subjects, environments, and locations can be as customary as the genetics lab where Carol Greider studies DNA, or as exotic as the Antarctic slopes where geologist Terry Wilson studies stresses on the earth. A researcher might focus on theories to describe phenomena, as does CERN’s Alvaro de Rujula, or work in the field collecting data or doing experiments, like entomologist Andrew Polaszek. Though their work may be different, all these scientists share a passion for learning that hearkens back to an innate desire to understand the world around us.

Serving as magnets of intellect, the research outposts we visited attract great minds from around the globe and across disciplines. Many of them are scientists, of course. But big research projects can’t happen without others who have special knowledge and skills that scientists rely on.

At Mission Control for the Hubble Space Telescope, Leon Bailey keeps the Hubble’s construction clean, and Francis Rondeau works the metal that becomes part of NASA’s satellites. In the rain forest of Belize, longtime resident Chapal Bol’s exceptional familiarity with the environment helps botanists like Nancy Garwood find plants in remote areas. And the famous genetic history of Barbara McClintock’s corn is carefully preserved for researchers by Tim Mulligan, the devoted farm manager of Cold Spring Harbor’s Uplands Farm.

The human side of science is revealed in the cultures that form at research stations. A visitor to CERN can ride a bike down streets named after famous physicists, or hear science discussed in almost any language
in CERN’s cafeteria. At McMurdo Station, welding foreman Richard "Chico" Pareles sends out a daily e-mail, a bit of news and humor for residents. When he describes the smorgasbord of creations at the annual arts and crafts show, he captures the spirit that goes beyond just doing science: "The talents people have and that no one knows about are as amazing as the people themselves."

credits