Which two scientists would you choose? An end-of-course discussion

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“If you could introduce any two scientists, regardless of where and when they lived, whom would you choose, and how would their collaboration change the course of history?” (Bismuth et al., 2023, p. 28).

The good people at the journal Science asked young scientists that question. (Access the freely available article.) Some of my favorite pairings are Leonardo da Vinci and the Richard Feynman (theoretical physicist), da Vinci and Nikola Tesla (electrical and mechanical engineer), Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing (both computer scientists), Abu Ali al Hasan ibn al-Haytham (mathematician and optician) and Isaac Newton (physicist), and Charles Darwin and Deisy das Graças de Souz (psychologist who studied behavior evolution). With each pairing, the writer briefly explains what each scientist was known for and why the pairing would have changed the course of history.

I am very interested to hear how your students would answer this version of the question:

If you could introduce any psychological scientist to another scientist, regardless of where and when they lived and regardless of discipline, whom would you choose, and how would their collaboration change the course of history?

Posed at the end of an Intro to Psychology course, this could be a fascinating class discussion, in person or online. Give the question to students at least a week before the discussion to give students time to consider their chosen scientists.

For me, I have to wonder what our kitchens would like now if Lillian Gilbreth’s engineering mind had collaborated with Leonardo da Vinci’s engineering mind. I bet they could have sorted out a better solution for our refrigerators—the one appliance that just does not quite fit seamlessly into our kitchens. Refrigerators are more of a sore thumb, actually. They are not standard size. They don’t sit flush with our counters and cabinets. Any cabinets above them are useless.

For that matter, I would love to hear your answer to that question. Please post your thoughts in the comments.

 

Reference

Bismuth, K., Sharma, V., Powell, J. R., Tang, H., Cao, B., Huang, J., Patel, R. J., Bezerra, P., Zhang, X., Wen, Q., Oda, F. S., Verstiuk, O., Khan, M. S., Virgüez, E., Zhi, Y., & Dedyo, J. M. (2023). NextGen voices: Historic introductions. Science, 382(6666), 28–30. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.adk8769

About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology since 1992. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed. and is co-author with Charles Stangor on Introduction to Psychology, 4.0.