Master's Thesis Exam: Anders Hørning Ridder
The Practice of Interdisciplinarity
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In this thesis, I discuss the proclaimed use of interdisciplinarity by the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center in Aarhus, INANO. To do so, I first clarify the meanings and implications of the term 'disciplinarity.' I will base the notion of disciplinarity in Kuhn's 'disciplinary matrix,' and apply it to analyze how disciplines interact to become interdis- ciplinarity. Five modes of interaction between disciplines and a distinction regarding the degree to which disciplinary matrices overlap are delineated. INANO predominantly uses the label of interdisciplinarity to indicate that nanoscience spans multiple classic disciplines in the natural sciences. Undergraduate programs at INANO teach a foundation of physics, chem- istry, biology, and molecular biology, as well as courses in nanoscience. Crucially courses in nanoscience allow students to become experienced with interfacial concepts, a determining factor for interdisciplinarity. In a case study of INANO, I found that the use of interdisciplinar- ity has two concerns: (1) purported interdisciplinarity is at risk of being multidisciplinary, which is a weaker interaction between disciplines. (2) specializations in nanoscience have a mono-disciplinary characteristic, and I defend the use of interdisciplinarity in these two cases, concluding that INANO utilizes an integrative version of interdisciplinarity, with a consid- erable overlap between disciplinary matrices.
Supervisor: Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen