Fluidity is about being flexible, variable, graceful and agile. OSTI as an organization is fluid.
OSTI's mission is to help scientists share their results, but what role do results play in science? Here we present a simple model of one of the most basic uses of results, namely as the engine of scientific progress. Research results are more than just accumulated knowledge. Research results make possible new questions, which in turn lead to even more knowledge. The resulting pattern of exponential growth in knowledge is called an issue tree.
The development of MP3 technologies illustrates the unexpected benefits of basic research. In 1965, a hand-sized storage and playback device that would hold 15,000 recorded songs was the stuff of science fiction. Even simple hand-held calculators were rare and expensive at that time.
Being someone who really loves mathematics I enjoy reading about the lives of mathematicians, about how they think, and about how they solve problems. And, as an OSTI consultant I recognize the value of having access to the ideas of others when performing research.
Coordination means increasing awareness of related and potentially useful research, especially across the basic and applied divide. Secretary Chu emphasizes the importance of bridging the basic and applied divide. DOE uses several large scale methods to foster coordination, such as workshops attended by hundreds of researchers. A complementary approach is described here, which we call "Bench-to-Bench Coordination". This approach uses analysis of OSTI resources to identify closely related research across the divide. The results can be used in a variety of ways to put individual (or "bench") researchers in touch with one another for coordination purposes. This process can operate on an ongoing basis, in contrast to episodic workshops.