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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Ships: perfect!

I like boats, ships, sailing and water. So beside cost effective transport boats also give me a lot of fun moments.

As a researcher I can also appreciate the fact that ships are a perfect research object, because ships to me:
-        are relatively well defined technical artifacts (not to simple, not to complex, not to big, not to small…),
-        operate in a interesting sub set of the world,
-        have a nice amount of crew onboard (many enough to be interesting and few enough to be understood),
-        are produced by a well defined industry (not to big, not to small…), and
-        come in many sizes and for many purposes.
These conditions together make research interesting, rewarding and possible. For much more complex systems a researcher can never deal with anything but a small part of the system.
However, ships and shipping is not a typical industry to study. The industry is inbred, slow, backward and governed by old truths. This is probably true for many areas of our society; the problem is that the backwardness and old truths are unique for each industry.
I’m therefore thankful that my interest made me chose this line of business, but I’m also challenged by the fact that I’ve to know the industry in order to make a difference. So even though ships are perfect, researching them is not for everybody. But I like it!

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