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Development of Interdisciplinary Attitudes and Knowledge at the NExSS Winter School

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Burnam-Fink M, Huff CJ, Desch S. Development of Interdisciplinary Attitudes and Knowledge at the NExSS Winter School. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, FL. Jun 14, 2017. Dialogue Approaches To Build Bridges Across Disciplines And Perspectives. Online at:

This paper studies the development and merging of interdisciplinary attitudes and knowledge acquisition over a week-long exercise to build bridges between disciplines. Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary search for life on planets other than Earth. The Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) is a NASA research coordination network that investigates possible conditions for life on exoplanets, and how detectable signals of those conditions relate to trajectories of solar system evolution. As part of the NExSS mission to synthesize the multiple scientific perspectives involved in the search for life in the universe, a group of NExSS researchers held a week-long Winter School for junior researchers. A survey of attendee’s favorability on open questions in astrobiology revealed the existence of a split between reductionist and holistic approaches matching prior disciplinary divides between astrophysics, geochemistry, and planetary science. Pre and post surveys reveal that this divide lessened over the course of the workshop, indicating the development increased understanding between the disciplines. Furthermore, all participants demonstrated improvements in knowledge of each others’ disciplines. Mutual respect and a common knowledge base is a key component of successful team science between disciplines (Cooke et al, 2015), and the NExSS Winter School demonstrates the successful application of a model for creating and measuring impactful interventions in scientific training (Davis & Scalice, 2014).



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


scits 2017 conference, presentation, development, interdisciplinary, attitudes

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Learn about the field of team science: history, theory and concepts
  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/5/2017 3:42:19 PM.

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