Improving science and increasing human knowledge: Patrick’s story
"The eScience Center stimulates thinking differently. We are a living experiment on how things can be done differently in academia."
I studied astronomy and did research into cosmological topics like dark energy and the cosmic web. It’s a field with lots of maths and crazy computational methods! At some point during my astronomy studies I also started to study philosophy, where I had a lot of fun too. You learn to think in such different ways: I think everybody should do philosophy at some point in their lives.
I started working for the eScience Center in 2014. It was a very logical choice to me. When I was doing my PhD, I regularly discussed the possibilities coding and data skills could bring to researchers in other disciplines who were still getting by with Excel sheets. And here we are!
My personal drivers are to improve science and increase human knowledge. In that way, we can solve major problems, because we absolutely need more advanced knowledge to make humankind on this planet work.
We, as Research Software Engineers, are catalysts. It may seem like our work at research institutes could have been done without us. But in reality, it probably couldn’t have been, because the up-front costs of training people to our level of skill is too high. This does not apply to all projects; sometimes we are the ones doing most of the learning.
The people who work at the eScience Center enjoy contributing to science in an intellectually stimulating and collaborative atmosphere. Our multidisciplinary orientation is one of our greatest strengths. Maybe not every single researcher can benefit from digital methods and that’s fine. But I think every single researcher can benefit from breaking out of domain boxes. And it’s something one has to be open to. A place like the eScience Center that stimulates that attitude is of tremendous value. We are a living experiment on how things can be done differently in academia.
– Patrick Bos, Research Software Engineer