Greetings to all PPS96 members

peter Murray-rust (
Mon, 8 Jan 1996 14:41:45 +0000 (GMT)

I'm very pleased to be involved in the PPS96 course and think that this
will be a most important event. It's ambitious, but we have lots of
evidence that it will succeed. Here are some points in no particular

Most important is that the course depends in the PEOPLE involved.
Besides the scientific and educational content of the course , the
virtaul contact with other people in the same situation can be
extraordinarily rewarding. At times it is hard work, but it's usually
great fun and you will always find someone to help you.

In PPS 1 we made little distinction between 'students' and
'consultants'. Although PPS96 is an accredited course, I hope that
students will be able to make important contributions. There will be
many students who have wide experience in parts of the subject or
related disciplines and this will be of great value. Please don't feel
shy about coming forward with information or ideas. One of the many
successes of the first course was that many 'students' went on to create
other resources on the Internet.

Some of you may be unfamiliar with the 'virtual' medium and it takes some
getting used to. So if it feels strange take a little time - this is
particularly true of the MOO which is strange at first. Make sure that
you don't upset other people - it's sometimes easy to misunderstand
someone (especially if they aren't fluent in the language). In PPS we
had thousands of e-mail contributions and there were no conflicts.

I'm delighted with the current registratiuon and I'm sure this will
continue to grow. It's very important to get 'critical mass' - i.e. the
feeling that if you ask a question, someone will answer it (even if the
answer is 'I don't know either!'). One of my roles in PPS2 will be to
help create this sense of community.

My own activity at present is using the experience of PPS1 to develop a
similar course in 'Structure-based Drug Design'. This is funded by
GlaxoWellcome and Pfizer and we shall be starting to create material this
year. So I'll try to 'drop in' frequently and I'll probably make
suggestions on e-mail and attend some of the MOO sessions.

It's important to explore new ways of doing things and neither PPS1 or
traditional courses are the only routes to follow. If you think there is
a useful thing to do, don't be afraid of suggesting it - but realise that
normally those who make the suggestion end up being expected to do it!
My own feeling is that it's very important to stimulate widespread
discussion of the material and not just to assume that people will work
serially through it. It's not easy to get electronic feedback and so
this is an area which should be carefully attended to. For many
questions there won't yet *be* an answer - a lot of the course will be
into the unknown (as was PPS1).

There will undoubtedly be new ideas an technology which comes out of this
course. Some of it will be valuable to non-members (whether it be
compilations of WWW sites, lists of molecules, bits of software, etc) and
may even give you new reseaerch interests.

Best wishes


Peter Murray-Rust, Glaxo Research & Dev. (; (BioMOO: PeterMR)
Birkbeck College,, CBMT/Daresbury,