Does Science Benefit From Individual Geniuses Or Success Through Collaboration?

Whenever the words ‘science’ and ‘scientist’ come to our mind, we almost always usually think of the biggest names in the field, those who made amazing breakthroughs at their time, forever revolutionizing our understanding of science as we know it. Usually, this consists of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla, or even Sir Isaac Newton. And all for good reason since these fellows have more than cemented their places in history with their contributions.

This is further reiterated by Nobel prize winners (in fact, most of the names above are winners), who are individuals that have transformed our understanding of the universe we live in. The work they left behind by taking risks is simply massive and important, and credit should be given where it is due.

However, is there a danger to only celebrating specific individuals in the scientific field? After all, no man is an island. For example, while Einstein might be a lone genius, the environment he’s born and worked in is the product of people before him, and his work has certainly benefited from the feedback of colleagues as most scientists do.

Team Work and Partnership

In fact, these days, most studies and results are the result of a joint effort, composed of leading scientists and colleagues who all work together to achieve a common goal. This is even more evident in larger scales such as the countless engineers and scientists at NASA who work together to make sure every mission is a success, or the many international teams that worked for 13 years just to sequence the first-ever human genome.

Tackling the great problems of our time and coming up with breakthrough solutions also require many individuals and teams from different backgrounds and walks of life.

And so, while individual talents should be recognized, it’s also very important to celebrate collaboration, especially in the scientific field, where it leads to breakthroughs, discoveries and fresh ideas that individual people can’t come up on their own. Sure, individuals can do a lot as evidenced by the greats. But teamwork can achieve so much more, if only it’s given the means to thrive.

laboratory scientist A scientists performing experiments in the lab. Pixabay Scientist in lab A look at the series of disturbing and famous social experiments conducted throughout the 20th century. Pexels, Public Domain