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Big Science: Is There Still Room for the One Bright Idea?


Abstract

Fundamental research using large infrastructures require years of planning and constructing before actual data taking can take place. Likewise, data analysis and interpretation is collaboratively accomplished in international teams, involving many research institutes and universities. With often more than hundred peoples engaged in multi-year research efforts, visibility and impact of achievements from individual scientists is not any longer confined to the conditions of a single successful lab setup or a particularly accomplished supervisor. Young scientists have to consider carefully the chances and peculiarities when becoming engaged in large collaborative research endeavors. The principle aspect worth to examine in this panel discussion has been formulated in a way to provoke a reaction from the participating auditorium: How can an individual become part of an experiment/observatory that might have been projected/constructed many years earlier, yet still play a role to contribute decisively? Will young members in large collaborative research projects have chances to question established procedures when they seem prone for improvement? Will talented and committed young scientists be noticed in multi-hundred-head research consortia? Can international visibility result from individual accomplishment or is it rather a result of managing large collaborative research projects, e.g. through organization in working groups, assignments of science tasks, and intelligent rules for publication - or collaboration boards? With large and international research infrastructures as being a consequence of the tremendous challenges to advance beyond the state-of-the-art in certain topical areas and the associated demands on cost and personnel (quantity and training), such discussion might help to seek an understanding and lively reflect the chances (or worries) of scientists already or becoming engaged in large collaborative research.


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