Different Sciences Seek Common Grounds
It’s no secret that humanities and engineering disciplines have been kept strictly separate in the past and continue to be so. But some researchers are doing their best to change the situation. One of them is Kenneth Knoespel, a friend of Daniil Alexandrov Deputy Director of the HSE St. Petersburg and Head of the Research Laboratory of Sociology in Education and Science. Kenneth Knoespel, Professor of Engineering and Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech visited the Laboratory in summer 2014 and met the HSE students.
Knoespel is convinced that the distance between different areas of study should be reduced. During the meeting with first-year students of the Faculty of Sociology he illustrated the interaction of different disciplines with the help of sugar cubes. He also told the students the short story of Georgia Tech, emphasizing the time when the departments of literature, architecture, management and many others were established in the engineering university. He also mentioned the university’s educational programmes which combine humanities and natural sciences, such as computational media for bachelor’s students and digital media for master’s students.
The course of programming for sociologists at the HSE St. Petersburg can also be regarded as an attempt to combine disciplines that seem to have nothing in common at first sight. Knoespel had heard something of the course and asked the students to tell him more about it. They discussed the students’ projects, the problems they faced while working on them and possible ways to develop them in the future. Most of the meeting however was about urban studies and the problems of doing research on cities.