Hey everyone, just got back from hibernation, back to this… Hold on a minute, I still have some drowsiness so I might, and probably will misspell something.
I claim to speak a lot about science, however, there is a key detail that I haven’t talked about, and that is… What the hell is science?!
Wikipedia says of science “… a enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe” and I think it does hit the main point of what science is all about. Why scientists work on every day? To understand the universe and understand how things work and fit in. Why do we want to understand that? So that we can predict what will happen if we do something, how something is supposed to act if something else happens to it. This is a generalist approach, but I think it is valid, because it may also ask: “Why do we care?”. You see, you can’t deny that science has had a substantial, I would say without a doubt, a defining rule in the shape of our modern societies. And yet, many question if we should still be working on science. They say something like “Is that going to be useful at all?”. As a scientist, (at least now, I can call myself a minor one) it’s really frustrating. And it depends on the science too.
#THIS NEXT PART IS JUST A PERSONAL RANT. TL;DR: PEOPLE ARE NOT CARING ENOUGH ABOUT SCIENCE BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH SCIENCE POSTER CHILDS THAT CAUSE A HUGE UPROAR AND BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE TURNING SCIENCE POLITICAL.
In life and environmental sciences, it’s easy to show how it can affect our daily lives, since regularly they have applications that may affect us directly. Chemistry also has some clear motivations for the public, because while they may not have a direct application, they have an industry, which is interested in the progress of chemistry. As for physics, we kind of reach a dilemma. Now we have applied physicists, and the projects I have worked on was essentially applied physics, so there is still some interest in that area. But I want to work on the fundamental fields someday, and it’s really hard to find any useful application for fundamental physical research in less than 60 years. It didn’t use to be like that. A good example would be the discovery of x-rays. Less than 20 years after its discovery, doctors had already seen its use for something that was very hard to do back then. Being able to see inside of someone without cutting they open. It was revolutionary.
Somehow, medicine has been the area that has benefited from physics the most this last century, other than the tech industry. The new diagnostic and therapeutic tools provided to medicine due to the quantum revolution, that also led to the development of computers and everything that followed it. General relativity allowed for the development of GPS, and for the proper usage of artificial satellites. These are all things that now are more and more prevalent in our lives, and yet, most of the physics required for them is more than 60 years old. Again, we do have some exceptions in the tech industry and medicine, but as for as the common person goes, physics stopped being relevant. And right now, science as a whole as grown so complex that it’s hard for one person to even revolutionize one single field of a science, let alone revolutionize all of it. What would it take to do so? I can’t fathom it, and that’s because I’m not Einstein. And because I’m not Feynman either, I can’t show people the marvels of science and captivate an audience as he did, specially since back then he wouldn’t be competing with the Kardashians or Marvel movies (just comics).
So these and many other factors explain why science has lost importance in the eyes of the public, and scientists themselves are losing trust from the public, for things that really shouldn’t be political, like climate change. But that doesn’t change science core principle of understanding the universe and predicting its next move.
#THAT ENDS THE RANT. SORRY ABOUT THAT
But in the end, science is all about working hard, (now as a team more than often) to try and solve an existing question, and maybe from there understand the universe a little bit better, predict what happens in similar circumstances and solve the new questions that will unavoidably pop up. I hope that helped.