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> He soon hit a wall of institutional inflexibility: “The idea of doing activities from various disciplines – energy, architecture, agriculture, waste water, you name it – was simply not possible within the university setting at that time. A number of people, who became very close friends, were coming to the same conclusion: that we had to find new institutional structures to go after a larger vision.”

Could an expert on the history of academia please speak about the barriers to interdisciplinary research and how (or if) it has been overcome? This is a subject that has interested me for many years. In other words, what has traditionally stood in the way of E. O. Wilson’s notion of consilience, and are we on our way to finally synthesizing knowledge from different fields to facilitate the discovery of new ideas and insights?

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