The following is the text from a LinkedIn post by Dean David B. Allison.
WHEN JUMPING AT 10,000+ FEET, RIGOR, REPRODUCIBILITY, AND TRANSPARENCY NEVER FELT MORE IMPORTANT.
In legend, Merlyn turns King Arthur into multiple creatures (including several birds) to help him see things from a new perspective—literally.
When I took to the sky through a tandem jump with a U.S. Army Parachute team, I was reminded of this principle: Seeing things from a new vantage point causes us to re-examine what we know to be "true." From more than 10,000 feet above the ground, boundaries blur. Dividers dissolve. The Earth seems richer in resources, humanity, and possibility. It looks unified. It feels like it belongs to us all. And it does.
In academia, we define our specific disciplines, departments, and initiatives. Our natural tendency to compartmentalize helps bring order to our work, but when we take the (figurative) 10,000+ foot view, we are struck by the inescapable truth: Every day, in what feels like individual pursuits, we are serving a greater purpose, utilizing rigor, reproducibility, and transparency at every turn.
This parachute team, the Golden Knights, is an elite unit of the U.S. Army that conducts hundreds of jumps each year. Their very creed includes the phrases "Safety is my way of life" and "Professionalism is my trademark." These soldiers are successful because they use rigor, reproducibility, and transparency in their every action. Each jump must be the result of rigor in technique and preparation. Each event must rely on the reproducibility of conditions to ensure that jumps follow proven standards. Each time a Golden Knight leaps into the air, whether alone or with a partner, there must be full transparency about the risks and realities of engaging in controlled human "flight."
Not only am I grateful to all who made this jump possible with their incredible precision; I feel I understand their approach to their work. Rigor. Reproducibility. Transparency. What makes us successful scientists makes them extraordinary soldiers. It is no small wonder, then, that SPH-B has a long-established relationship with Indiana University ROTC who graciously set up this event. Our aims, our approaches, and our commitment to "getting it right" parallel one another. Here’s to science, here’s to excellence, and here’s to seizing the day!