“Great improvements, said [Yo Yo] Ma, can come from collaboration. He said his cello was crafted in Cremona, Italy, at a time when apprenticeships were popular and the quality of instruments peaked, between 1695 and 1735. But then instrument makers around the world began competing for business and keeping secrets.
“There’s a lesson here about science, I think,” interjected Collins.
In the ensuing two centuries, Ma said, the quality of instruments plummeted. In the 1970s, however, apprenticeships resumed around the world; knowledge flowed and the quality of instruments dramatically improved….”