• Question: why dont you do something better then just publishing your research in Books?

    Asked by xgopi to Philip on 13 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Philip Dolan

      Philip Dolan answered on 13 Jun 2011:

      Well, I guess it depends on what you think is better than that.

      I think that ‘publishing stuff in books’ was probably one of the first things that people did which differentiated us from apes and other animals (if you believe in evolution). Up until people had language, genetics provided the main way for organisms to pass information from one generation to the next. With language, information was passed down through stories and songs and rituals (I suppose), but when the written word was thought up it allowed for precise ideas that can’t be distorted to be passed down. This has culminated with modern day peer reviewed journals.

      Saying that, a lot of research is only relevant to a small group of people. It’s not front page news all the time so putting it in books (or most often now, on the internet) allows only those that it will be useful for to read it.