Why Science is rather like Professional Football

At present, the most succesful club in the English Premier League is Manchester City. Of their 30 matches, so far they have won 22, scored 64 goals, conceded 21 and have accumulated 71 points. They lead their group in the European Champions League. They are feared and respected by all their rivals for the persistent quality and efficiency of their play. In the last twelve years they have becoame a world brand, attracting a wide following and major sponsorship.

Who are the people behind such success? If you want to know more you could google the owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Ali Nahyan,who is from the United Arab Emirates. The manager Pep Guardiola, a Spanish citizen who self identifies as Catalan, seems also to have had something to do with it. There seem to be quite a lot of players too, who hail from places as diverse as Brazil, Spain, France, the USA, Portugal, Belgium,Germany, Argentina and England. And this is nothing unique. Their nearest rivals, Manchester United, have similarly diverse make up,and are themselves no strangers to the pursuit of excellence. We could name others from both England and other countries, but you’d stop reading. But you could ask this-would Manchester City have done quite so well if they had only English players?

The other day we were reading about the top discoveries in Science in the last ten years. * and one of the things that struck us was how like football it is. We won’t go through all ten, you can see the link below. But all of these breakthroughs came from international collaboration. Lee Berger‘s work on Australopithecus sediba had collaborators from the USA, South Africa, Switzerland and Austria. The work to produce an Ebola vaccine * took the best part of three continents* Probably the biggest thing on the list to affect our lives is CRISPR. You can read about the amazing efforts to develop this in our third link. * There are some really good graphics too. This is all the tip of the iceberg: most university science departments and research institutes are multinational and multicultural, because the best scientists, like the best footballers, can come from anywhere.

We at LSS understand the current trends towards group defence and national isolation. The need to belong to your own is a deep and primary human instinct. It is a natural reaction to the unjust and unequal ways in which globalisation has played out in recent decades. As a political idea, the new tribalism is sweeping all before it. But science has a way of leading to material and economic advance. In the medium to long term there may be a premium for those who somehow maintain the best scientific teams. And inevitably, that will mean the most diverse.

The Top Ten Scientific Discoveries of the Decade | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

The Heroes of CRISPR (broadinstitute.org)

The inside story of how scientists produced an Ebola vaccine (statnews.com)

#crispr #leeberger #ebolavaccine #premierleague #championsleague #multinational #multicultural #knowledge #science #football #futbol #ciencia

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