Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Academic Lunch Dating

Swiss people are shy by nature. Academics are often a bit reserved. Combine the two and you get what is a common phenomenon at ETH: Entire research groups always go out to lunch together. The same people eat with the same people, every day.

On the other hand, great research always happens at the intersection of two fields. Ideas do not form in a vacuum, but are the result of interaction. To get more ideas, you'd ideally talk to different people every once in a while.

That's why I'd like to propose academic lunch dating. Unlike in traditional online dating, the ultimate goal here would be the exchange of ideas, not gene sequences

We'd make Thursday the designated lunch dating day. We build a website where students, researchers, and professors can sign up. Every Wednesday, they enter what kind of person they want to talk to: Student or researcher, data mining specialist, mathematician or biologist? The system would match up fitting pairs, and send out emails. You'd meet Thursday 12:30 at the cafeteria you agreed on.

On Friday, everything would go back to normal and you could have lunch with your peers in peace.


Anonymous said...


Sorry for writing here. I have tried to send you an email but I get "returned email, host unknown" error messages. Do you have another email account I can contact you?

Ioannis Katakis

leo said...

Great idea! I think this would be also a great tool for workers in midesize and small company. They also often lunch together and they would profit from exchanging with other professional. Perhaps the tool shouldn't be too "correct", sometimes "unexpected" meeting with peoples in other research groups or branches are very interessting and open some new thougths.

Douwe Osinga said...

I like this idea a lot, especially if we can open it up a little beyond pure research