- Heather Caslin
The wonderful world of science
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
Science is a beautiful and complex world. Theories like evolution and gravity explain why animals behave the way they do and how our solar system is organized. We can see planets that are galaxies away, fish at the bottom of the darkest parts of the ocean, and mitochondria inside of a cell. And science can help explain the best way to train for a marathon and why we vote the way we do.
Everyone has an interest in science, whether they know it or not. Science explains why it's more difficult to dye dark hair and why we should wear sunscreen. Science explains why cars require gas and why car maintenance is so important. Science is the trails we run that carve through national forests and parallel rivers that have sculpted valleys into cliffs and mountains over thousands of years. Science is how the foods we eat fuel our bodies and leave us craving more, and science explains why listening to a two hour lecture in school just does not help us learn. Science is vaccines, medicines, the iphone, and the things we still have to invent to change our lives in the future.
But science has hurt groups of people before. Researchers have notoriously ignored studying populations of people at best, and purposefully conducted unethical studies at worst. Biases still influence the way we practice medicine. And different industries and technologies benefit certain groups over others. And then it doesn't help that science often typically lives in the ivory towers of academia and industry, being inaccessible to the average consumer. Luckily I see these conversations happening more and more, and I think it's more important now than ever to ensure that science is reaching, including, and benefiting everyone.
So what does this mean for the purpose of this blog? I am here to help you all sharpen your scientific skills. Science is more than a subject in school or an experiment in a lab, it's a way of thinking and asking questions to explain the world around us. Much like songwriters try to make sense of the world and our feelings and our strength by telling the stories of our lives, scientists try to make sense of the world around us by asking how everything works and why.
As both a PhD student and an instructor in higher ed, I've learned that scientific skills extend far beyond just knowing material, and I believe that the value in teaching science is so much deeper than our students knowing the Krebs cycle or the electromagnetic spectrum. In a world with more knowledge than ever available on the internet, knowing how to find and interpret answers is imperative. Learning how to ask questions and where to look for the answers is a skill. Problem solving and creativity is a skill. Communication, collaboration, creativity, resilience, and time management are skills. And all of these skills can be practiced and improved to benefit you in any of your professional pursuits, far beyond the reach of biology and chemistry. Plus it will help you to interpret if the article shared on Facebook by your cousin or neighbor is a legitimate source.
So buckle up and join me on a journey to learn about how science is conducted, how science is reported, and what it all means. Leave a comment or contact me if you have any specific questions or interests!
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