Rearing as science_Page_09

Comparison of Science and Art (from ESA Symposium Presented by Allen Cohen and Jackie Cohen)

Is Insect Rearing an Art or a Science?

One of the most important functions of this website and of the Insect Rearing Education and Research Program at NCSU is to help rearing specialists realize that good insect rearing practices are based on sound science practices.  We emphasize throughout our education and research efforts that understanding the biology and physical science behind all aspects of rearing is a must for reducing variability and unexpected or unpredictable outcomes.  We further stress that a science-based rearing technology helps us develop a statistically-sound process control over our rearing outcomes.  When we approach rearing as a science, we benefit from the tenets of science (rather than art) where we find mechanisms, cause-and-effect relationships, and sources of variability (error).  This approach makes rearing more reliable and more likely to give us repeatable and predictable results.  It also serves to help rearing specialists communicate their discoveries to other scientists who can repeat the work and build upon it.

The diagram summarizes briefly “science vs. art” with science being mechanistic, logically consistent, rational, repeatable, and offering predictive value.  These are some of the most important ideals that we hold for our rearing systems.  We also look for self-correction (continuous improvement and external input from peers) to make our rearing systems more successful.

As the posts and pages on the website appear, we will further the ideas of “rearing as a science” with suggestions of using process control to make our rearing practices more “scientifically-based.”

Therefore, please keep track of the elements of science and technology that we try to convey in this site.

Happy Rearing!

Allen Carson Cohen