Multiwavelength Astronomy

Photo of Harvey Moseley

X-ray Tools, Harvey Moseley

The Nature of Scientific Inquiry

One of the other things I found out early on is that if you can duplicate what other people do really well, then it means that you have some understanding of the problem. That’s the price of entry -- not trying to be different from the start. Find the best thing in the world, and then duplicate it. Once you can do that, then you can try some innovation.

When you work in science you also have to recognize there are a lot of important parts, and that the part you’re doing is not the only one. This is something that’s really important about working in teams. Every individual has to find a way to use his or her skills in a way that really benefits the project goals.

New technologies bring people together from wide ranges of fields. Things that cut in different directions are really important for innovation. The original question of how to measure the energy in a laser pulse sparked the idea of using microcalorimeters for X-ray spectroscopy, and this in turn enabled many types of research and technology development to move forward. That’s why it’s really important that people from sufficiently different contexts come together in science. Inquiry involves connecting things that are from very different phases of your experience and exploring and discussing them with a team of people with different ideas and experiences of their own. And through our work together, new ideas and solutions to old problems are born.

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This material is based upon work supported by NASA under Grant Nos. NNX09AD33G and NNX10AE80G issued through the SMD ROSES 2009 Program.

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