[Humanist] 25.386 wormy and graphical ways of working

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Oct 15 09:50:36 CEST 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 386.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2011 07:44:30 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: The Worm Book and its community

In her essay, "Wormy Logic: Model Organisms as Case-Based Reasoning", in 
Science without Laws, ed. Creager, Lunbeck and Wise (2007), Rachel 
Ankeny comments that biologist Sydney Brenner's research into the 
genetic mapping of the nematode C. elegans "resulted in a relatively 
cohesive community often celebrated as a model of scientific cooperation 
and shared understanding of fundamental concepts" (p. 48). She points to 
two accounts in the journal Science, Leslie Roberts, "The Worm Project", 
NS 248, 4961 (15 June 1990): 1310-1313, and Elizabeth Pennisi, "Worming 
Secrets", NS 282, 5396 (11 December 1998): 1972-1974 (both in JSTOR). 
Looking across the fence at this activity, I wonder, what can we learn 
from it, other than about C. elegans -- say about research and community?

Somewhere (I cannot at the moment get to half my library and so cannot
chase the reference), the German typographer and calligrapher Rudolf
Koch is reputed to have said on his deathbed, "Remember, we were able
to work together!" But unlike the scientists of The Worm Project, the artists
with whom Koch associated produced their own things. We know Koch, for
example, not as one of several signatories to works of graphic art, but as 
the sole maker of this and that. So I wonder, perhaps we should look to 
such artists as well as to the scientists for ideas toward practical models
of collaboration.


Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's 
College London; Professor (fractional), University of Western Sydney; 
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org); Editor, 
Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

More information about the Humanist mailing list