Invited Symposium: Virtual Labs and Real Scientists: Can Virtual Labs Produce Real Scientists?
All the knowledge, skills, attitudes and attributes required by a scientist are not acquired in a short period of education. They are partly inherited (e.g. curiosity), acquired (e.g. integrity) or learned at various ages (e.g. simple math, use of electronic tools, discipline specific knowledge at various levels). This process takes place from birth and since we all live in the real world no scientist can be the product of a virtual lab. Laboratories, real or virtual, only develop some of the knowledge, skill, attitudes and attributes required. It is tempting to think of laboratories as places where laboratory skills are developed but a few moments thought will produce a list of diverse items which are learned or developed in a laboratory. Are there things which can ONLY be acquired in a real laboratory? I know of no virtual environment which emulates killing a live animal and so confronts the scientist with the question of moral justification with the same intensity as the real laboratory. Similarly, aptitude for a particular type of laboratory work (e.g. in vivo pharmacology) may only be discovered in the real laboratory. The virtual laboratory can therefore develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and aptitudes required by scientists for some jobs but not for others.
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|Hughes, I.E.; (1998). Can Virtual Labs Produce Real Scientists?. Presented at INABIS '98 - 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/rangachariedu/hughes0179/index.html|
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