Modern science is increasingly a collaborative enterprise. In ecology, NCEAS was very influential in driving the shift towards collaboration. But The Curious Wavefunction asks a good question: what if one side effect of this shift is to devalue the scientific contributions of introverts? It’s not just that some good scientists prefer to work alone, perhaps because they aren’t comfortable (scientifically and/or socially) in groups. By virtue of their independence, those sorts of scientists may be the creatives and contrarians, the sources of really new ideas. In future, is it going to be harder for such people to establish themselves and make their mark in science? Is it already getting harder?
I suppose I tend to appreciate this question because until recently I’ve mostly worked solo, or with a very few collaborators. And I certainly know some very good ecologists who are also very shy, and I wonder how that’s shaped their careers.