Archive for February 2, 2011

Science doesn’t need Universities

A fascinating take on the role of science in universities.  I’ve blogged previously here about the obsession with research (mostly in science) in Universities and how that twists budgets and perceptions.  This article points out that, while Universities desperately need Science, Science actually doesn’t need to be in academia to succeed.

The university needs science because some 97.5 percent of the sponsored research funding flows to science faculty members. It needs science because graduate science departments attract the largest share of international students, many of whom come with external funding. It needs science because science is its last bastion of intellectual credibility. It needs science because the most potent rationale for continuing state and federal support is that universities drive technological innovation and jobs, and this claim rests almost exclusively on the contributions of university science faculty. It needs science because science departments are a magnet for many smart undergraduate students who wouldn’t come to seek degrees in other stuff.

The university also needs science because most of the important frontiers of human knowledge are in the sciences. If the university wants to take itself seriously as an institution founded on the search for truth, it has to have a serious commitment to the sorts of truths that theoretical and empirical science aim to uncover.

Science, on the other hand, could in principle get along without the university. It would be inconvenient for a while, especially for scientists who have built their careers around academic science. But there is nothing inherent in the nature of scientific inquiry that makes it dependent on the university. Science can be pursued in other venues: in government-run facilities such as the National Laboratories; in industry-sponsored facilities such as Bell Labs once was; in private industry; in international ventures such as the International Space Station; and sometimes as a purely personal pursuit. The latter is not to be treated at all dismissively. From Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein, breakthroughs have been achieved by individuals working well outside the university establishment and with little institutional backing. Today we have science entrepreneurs such as Craig Venter and Stephen Wolfram who step out of academe to found their own institutes to pursue their inquiries.

via Could Science Leave the University? – Innovations – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

February 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm 3 comments

Is 2011 the year of Scripting? 11 hot skills for 2011

Interesting that prototyping and rapid development is predicted to make a comeback.  Maybe this is the year when scripting becomes more important than more traditional, compiled languages that have a main() in them?  Many of us already think scripting is pretty important, and much easier to learn.  Yet, C++ is still taught in an awful lot of CS1 classes.

About 47% of the survey respondents who said they plan to hire IT professionals in the next year will be looking for people with programming or application development skills. Moreover, reports that three quarters of 245 HR managers and recruiters it surveyed in May plan to hire IT staffers with applications expertise by the end of this year.

“Those skills are separate from enterprise business applications,” says David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners LLC in Vero Beach, Fla. In this volatile market, companies need to quickly reposition, as well as use IT to grow the business through new products and innovation. So “RAD, rapid programming and agile programming seem to be coming back. Companies are starting to increase some of their pay [in these areas], which means they’re looking for more capabilities in their companies,” he says.

via 11 hot skills for 2011 – Computerworld.

February 2, 2011 at 10:23 am 5 comments

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