Accelerating Science Discovery - Join the Discussion

Published by Nena Moss

My mother died in March 2010 after a 15-year battle with Alzheimer’s, so I pay particular attention to news about this dreadful disease. A recent New York Times article caught my eye: “Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer's.”

How did sharing data lead to progress on Alzheimer’s?  A collaborative effort, the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, was formed to find the biological markers that show the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in the human brain. The key was to share all the data, making every finding public immediately – “available to anyone with a computer anywhere in the world.”
 
Published by Dr. Jeffrey Salmon

One of the more fascinating pieces of work at a DOE National Laboratory was the examination of an ancient work by Archimedes on parchment that had been erased, written over, and so, mostly, lost to history. Lost, that is, until the SLAC synchrotron X-ray beam tore into the parchment and was able to let us see and read much of the original Archimedean text. Archimedes would have used a lab notebook, if he had had paper, or a computer and a thumb-drive to record his work if they had been available, but he did not live long enough to invent those things, which he probably could have if given the time. One hopes that before his study was erased, others were able to read it, profit from its insights, and use the knowledge as a springboard to another discovery. That’s one way we make progress.

We often hear that with declining costs in storage, increased bandwidth, and faster processing speeds, the power and potential of the electronic age to spread and communicate science are amazing things to ponder. I guess. But the work can still be lost, no matter how it is recorded. And some material, let’s face it, isn’t worth saving. Between this blog and Archimedes’ method of mechanical theorems, the work that SLAC was looking at, which would you save? What is needed now, as then, is someone to care about preserving the scientific findings that are worth preserving.

Published by Dr. William Watson

OSTI's current services accelerate science through what is largely a kind of card file.  We point people to particular pieces of literature or data that meet certain search criteria.  From there, people can build on what those pieces of information tell them and achieve new discoveries and inventions. 

Published by Dr. Walt Warnick

The success of Google has been so profound that the word “Google” is now considered a verb. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_(verb) “To Google” has come to mean to search the web via the free search engine provided by Google, Inc.

Published by Dr. Walt Warnick

The notion that science progresses only if knowledge is shared is the reason that OSTI wascreated in 1947. Documents sent to and from President Franklin Roosevelt near the end of World War II included this rationale for sharing knowledge, and the concept was incorporated into the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 which led to the creation of OSTI.