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Nature’s special issue probes how scientists and social scientists are coming together to solve the grand challenges of energy, food, water, climate and health. This special scrutinizes the data on interdisciplinary work and looks at its history, meaning and funding. A case study and a reappraisal of the Victorian explorer Richard Francis Burton explore the rewards of breaking down boundaries. Meanwhile, a sustainability institute shares its principles for researchers who work across disciplines. Thus inspired, we invite readers to test their polymathy in our lighthearted quiz.

Image credit: Dean Trippe


  • Mind meld

    Interdisciplinary science must break down barriers between fields to build common ground.

    Nature (16 September 2015)



  • How to catalyse collaboration

    Turn the fraught flirtation between the social and biophysical sciences into fruitful partnerships with these five principles, urge Rebekah R. Brown, Ana Deletic and Tony H. F. Wong.

    Nature (16 September 2015)

Books and Arts

  • The undisciplinarian

    Social historian Harvey Graff turns a practised eye on interdisciplinarity, exploding myths about that meshing as he goes.

    Nature (16 September 2015)

Scientific American

  • Big Science, big challenges

    The powerful and sometimes uneasy alliance between science and the society it serves is the theme of this year’s special report on the “State of the World’s Science.”

    Scientific American (16 September 2015)


  • Palgrave Communications Collection

    This collection is dedicated to the concept of interdisciplinarity within and between disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and business studies.

    Nature (21 July 2015)

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