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Tag: interdisciplinary

Wednesday Nite @ the Lab

If you’ve gotten to see “Fallout” at Ebling Library–or even if you haven’t!–here’s your chance to find out how the exhibit was put together! Join Ebling Library for Wednesday Nite @ the Lab on Wednesday, February 20th from 7:00-8:15 in Room 1111, 425 Henry Mall.

Curator Micaela Sullivan-Fowler

“Fallout” is an examination of subjects such as the early use of x-rays
in diagnosis & treatment, occupational hazards of working with
radiation, the military use of x-rays, the history of tanning, a UW
connection with Marie Curie, bomb shelters in the 1960’s, the bombing of
Hiroshima & concerns with nuclear accidents like Three-Mile Island,
UW’s Departments of Medical Physics & Radiology, shoe fitting
fluoroscopes and the like.

Micaela Sullivan-Fowler has been the curator and history of health
sciences librarian at Ebling Library for the past 14 years. She acts as
the liaison to the Department of Medical History & Bioethics within
the School of Medicine and Public Health. She works with graduate and
undergraduate students, helping them navigate the print and electronic
worlds when using primary material for their research papers. In designing exhibits, Micaela’s
primary goals are to highlight books in Ebling’s collections, and to
create thematic pathways between the subjects in the individual cases.
While the current exhibit on the history of radioactivity, x-rays and
radium has had glowing reviews, it was perhaps the most difficult to
tell in such a limited space. The discovery of so many interesting
stories is what Micaela loves to share…

Reductionist?

Pollan carefully criticizes science throughout In Defense of Food. Primarily his criticism is of reductionism. Pollan points out that reductionism has led us to investigate the parts rather than the whole. We look at nutrients rather than whole foods when interested in the mechanics of health. I believe this is an important observation and one that probably ought to help us recognize that we must view eating as a complex system. It would probably be unwise, however, to view this important observation as a reason for a wholesale retreat from reductionism. Certainly, most of the arguments in favor of a whole foods diet and rejecting a processed diet in this text are based on reductionist claims. It is very difficult to investigate a mechanism without reductionist methodology. Perhaps Pollan is just suggesting we recognize the limits of reductionist methodology. It is important, however, to recognize the limits of correlations as well. It is impossible to compare the health of people who eat western foods with those that do not, because those people differ in many other ways as well. Even studies of those who ate a non-western diet and then adopted a western diet, are also studying a people who have adopted a western way of life as well. I do not doubt myself that diet is a key component in this correlation, but we must recognize the limits of the inquiry. Perhaps the best inquiries consider parts in context and draw on the strengths of several ways of knowing to answer questions. Pollan has done just this in, In Defense of Food. Thus, I am left with the impression that interdisciplinary collaboration rather than interdisciplinary criticism will have the most profound impact on the way we come to address the problems we face today.