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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, now living in "Portlandia"!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A New Kind of Science

This post might seem to be a departure from my usual subject matter, but it’s really not. For the past 15 years, I’ve been developing my own outside-the-box approach to the study of literature, with heavy reliance on literary sleuthing out of covert textual clues left behind by the greatest authors like Austen, Shakespeare, and Joyce. And for the past 15 years, my eldest son Ethan has been developing his own outside-the-box approach to biology, informing his theorizing with an evolutionary perspective. As we’ve each moved on our separate paths, we have often noted the parallels between the study of literature and the study of nature, and so, today’s post is in honor of my son, who is putting  on the following-linked crowdsourcing event in NYC on Thursday evening October 4 at Dewey's Flatiron.


Ethan is one of the new breed of scientists who are looking to break free of longstanding models for the funding of basic science via traditional sources like government (which seem in grave peril of drying up these days) or Big Business (which does not always have the public's interest at heart, to put it mildly).
The research project he wishes to crowdfund is explained briefly in the link, and is on a modest budget with reasonable expectations of fulfilling their specific goal in demystifying the mechanism of the
amphetamine class of drugs on people. Ethan is very Internet savvy, and his Twitter name is @eperlste. He Tweets frequently, if you want to get a more specific sense of what he is about as a scientist.

For the past 5 years, after obtaining his Ph.D at Harvard, Ethan has been developing a new evolutionary approach to pharmacology at his lab at the Sigler Institute at Princeton. In this planned project, he will  collaborate with David Sulzer, whose Columbia Med School lab has for nearly 2 decades been a leader in psychopharmacology.

Members of our family will of course be among his crowdfunding donors, not just because he's our relative, but because we believe in his ability to use his ingenuity and expertise to make this new kind of
science happen, and be part of a growing wave for change, which will ultimately benefit our society as a whole.

This event will be in NYC, perhaps some of you (or anyone you know) who live in the NYC area
might want to attend and see if you want to find out more, and maybe decide to be a donor too (we're not talking about big bucks here overall, and the idea is to get lots of smaller donors!). Feel free, therefore, to circulate this post to any prospective attendee or donee!! And of course if anyone has a question for Ethan, let me know and I will put you in touch with him to answer it!

I've been his non-scientist "muse" for 15 years now, from the days when he managed to wangle himself an internship with a prominent immunologist at the NIH while he was still in high school--and I can say
that it has been a fantastic experience, as a layperson, to tag along with him on his theoretical journey to the point he has reached now, where he has developed an outside-the-box approach to pharmacology that really may bear rich fruit during the next decade. So, if any of you are non scientists, and want a ring side seat to watch how cutting edge science is done these days, this is your chance!  If this sort of thing catches on among scientists worldwide, who knows, maybe one day there will be no depending on the likes of Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney to decide if they want to fund science that the world desperately needs!

Cheers, ARNIE

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