Iâ€™m having trouble convincing myself that staying involved in big science projects is a tenable arrangement for me. Big science drives a lot of SIâ€™s money, and Iâ€™m starting to feel a bit like a puppet. Sure, I think big science is interesting and valuable. Who doesnâ€™t want an anthrax vaccine or concrete that bends? I just donâ€™t want to spend all my intellectual time and energy watching people make those vaccines or bend that concrete. Iâ€™m tempted, again, to leave big science collaboration studies to someone who cares more about technology. After spending a couple days at an NSF symposium ostensibly about cyber-enabled discovery and innovation, I am even more convinced that NSF and its CISE program are not the place for me to make my splash. Sure, NSF money is nice in that itâ€™s often big and makes work possible. But do I want to do that work? I donâ€™t think so. This symposium has served very effectively to convince me, at least for now, that my summer enthusiasm about using these big science collaborations as cases for a general study of collaboration was foolish. Right now, there are equations being projected. Equations. I came to Troy, NY to wave the sociotechnical banner and learn about physics, apparently. I think Iâ€™d rather dump the banner and put my â€œsocialâ€ t-shirt back on.
So now I’m done presenting, and I feel a little better. Perhaps some of my earlier crankiness was due to my stress over having not finished my presentation to include said crankiness. In the end, I got to wave the sociotechnical banner and ask for funding to support social science enabled by computation. Not bad for a day’s work.
Before I hit “Publish,” let me mention one more battle raging at this symposium. Gender. I was the second woman to present in as many days. We’ve seen a new presentation about every 20 minutes. This is not only shocking and accurate, it’s unacceptable.