When confuse us rather than help us. They depend

When we study a particular area of knowledge, we
tend to get assistance from other similar areas of knowledge to improve on the
understanding of said area of knowledge but sometimes they can confuse us
rather than help us. They depend on empirical knowledge and scientific method. Biology
or chemistry must, for instance, build on the discoveries of physics in order
to move forward because “physics” studies the physical things, the objects that
are about us and are not of our own making. Thus, the research in these
disciplines, biology and chemistry, attempts to determine the nature of “life”
from that which is lifeless and to find the origins of organic matter in
inorganic matter or from inorganic matter. These fields of study are
“overlapping” and must be overlapping because they rely on reason as a way of
knowing and on the language of mathematics that is used in order to convey
their “knowledge” or “findings” to others. Reason and language as WOKs
determine the methodology that will be used, “the scientific method”, and they decide
beforehand the “how” of the “viewing” of the things that are in advance and how
this “viewing” will be reported. Now the question is to what extent does the
production of knowledge vary in fields of study of natural sciences?

For scientist to be
able to study organic matter thoroughly, the will first need to understand the
inorganic matter that the organic matter comes from. That is why the study of
physics is important for the further discoveries of chemistry and biology.

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For example, in
physics, when we learn about any formula that has been derived from another
formula we may not know what this derivation is at first but if we remember
when we studied math we have already learned this derivation which we can then
apply to our understanding of this physics formula. There have also been
instances when scientists have allowed their minds to roam and reach beyond
their immediate research fields and stumble onto their most creative insights. Dudley
Herschbach made an important discovery in chemistry shortly after he learned of
a technique in physics called molecular beams. At the end of the 1960s Dudley
Herschbach and Yuan Lee began developing methods to carefully study the
dynamics of chemical reactions. Beams of molecules with fixed amounts of energy
were made to cross one another so that chemical reactions arose where the beams
intersected. By measuring the movement, mass and energy of the molecules produced,
the reactions can be mapped1.
Physicists had been using the technique for decades, but Herschbach, a chemist,
who hadn’t heard of it earlier, used the technique in his research that fetched
him the Nobel Prize in 1986. In hindsight, he says, “It seemed so simple and
obvious. I don’t think it took a lot of insight as much as naïveté.” Likewise
in physics, there is inherently no difference or conflict in theoretical or
experimental knowledge. Although through their own perspectives, theorists
value their theories for developing physics and the experimentalists think they
discover or invent physics through their experiments, experimentalists are
bound to understand the theory as much as theorists are compelled to understand
the experiment.

However, adopting interdisciplinary approaches
to the production of knowledge leads to confusion. Single discipline focus, is
straight forward, easy to isolate comprehend and analyze and testable. When
providing an explanation or reasons or the why and wherefore, interdisciplinary
approach brings in multiple, entangled dimensions that are difficult to isolate
and comprehend. A complex approach packed with too many variables,
contingencies, and undefined areas results in only witnessing chaos. The
difficulty in identification and recognition blocks us from discerning and
deciphering the knowledge content and thus demotivating us to pursue it any further.

For example, in physics, when we are studying about
particles we do not need to know an element’s charge, whether it is a cation or
an anion, we simply look at their atomic mass numbers whereas in chemistry we
do need to look at them. So if we look at it through the chemistry side of it,
it will only confuse us even though it is not needed.

The IB Diploma Program
is a good real life situation. The subjects in IB have interdisciplinary topics
among sciences. In physics, it can have topics about heat conversion, and it
can be seen in Biology as well. Maybe subjects in different sciences will be
differentiated into different topics in further studies

In conclusion, adopting
interdisciplinary approaches can lead to confusion if we do not pay attention
but it does more good than bad. For instances, students cover topics in more
depth because they are considering the many and varied perspectives from which
a topic can be explored. Interdisciplinary study allows for synthesis of ideas
and the synthesis of characteristics from many disciplines. At the same time it
addresses students’ individual differences and helps to develop important,
transferable skills. These skills, such as critical thinking, communication and
analysis are important and continually developing at all stages of life.


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