“Science is the best sport,” Marcel Levy, the new chairman of the board of directors of the Dutch Scientific Research Organization (NWO), wrote in a column. The whole scientific Netherlands falls on it at once. Comparison with the best sports is “disastrous” for science, write four professors Rivalry Science does nothing good (NRC, 27/7). They advocate open sharing of knowledge, integrity, diversity and social integrity. Politically, Levy’s column was a bit clumsy, but that doesn’t make his comparison any less favorable. It does not seem to me that scientists’ aspiration to be “the best in their field” at all contradicts important goals such as diversity. Last Monday (26/7) CNN interviewed Austrian mathematician and cyclist Dr. Anna Kissenhofer, a researcher at the prestigious EFPL University of Lausanne. “There is always a little bit of hope, that little bit of thinking I can win,” Kissenhofer said. “I want to win. As a player I want to win. When I’m at the start I want to win.” This weekend, she beat all the Dutch candidates and won the gold medal in the Olympic road race. It is inconceivable, in her research in the field of partial differential equations, that Kiesenhofer would not also want to be the first to invent?
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of July 29, 2021
“Coffee fanatic. Friendly zombie aficionado. Devoted pop culture practitioner. Evil travel advocate. Typical organizer.”