Science is by no means a solitary business. Scientists build on the knowledge gathered by their predecessors. They collaborate with their colleagues, including researchers from other scientific disciplines. They call each other’s hypotheses into question. They have discussions, differences of opinion, and keep each other on their toes. Clearly, teamwork is a fundamental part of scientific research.
Networks are required in order to facilitate that continuous interaction. Sometimes, these networks are formalised – just think of conferences, specialist journals or online discussion forums. But equally, scientists meet up in more informal settings, e.g. in a student union or other social club, or even in family settings. The most innovative and valuable ideas tend to have completely unexpected origins.