Science is under siege these days. Some politicians proudly proclaim that evolution is just a theory and that climate change is a conspiracy among scientists. Health gurus advocate homeopathy or “natural” remedies rather than modern medicine. Parents ignore the advice of doctors and experts and refuse to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases. People who are quite happy to reap the benefits of science—new medical treatments, for example, or sci-fi-like technological devices—advocate for schools to teach religion in science class.
And so I think it’s time for the rest of us to speak up. Let’s explain what it is about science that satisfies us, how science improves our world and why it’s better than superstition. To that end, I’m starting a new series here on Surprising Science: Why I Like Science. In coming months, I’ll ask scientists, writers, musicians and others to weigh in on the topic. And I’m also asking you, the readers, why you like science. If you’d like to participate, send a 200- to 500-word essay to WhyILikeScience@gmail.com; I’ll publish the best.
And to start us off, here’s why I like science:
When we are little, we ask “why.” “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do balls fall down and not up?” “Why can’t my fish live outside water?” Good parents root their answers in science. The sky is blue due to the way light is scattered in the atmosphere. Balls fall down because of gravity. Your fish doesn’t have lungs, and gills only work in water.
But science doesn’t just give us answers to the why’s of our childhoods; it gives us the tools we need to keep answering them as we grow up.
Science is the tool I use to understand the world around me. It provides logic and sense and order in what might otherwise seem chaotic. And though the answer to the why’s of my adulthood may sometimes be “we don’t know,” it’s really just “we don’t know yet”—the answer will eventually be found, with science.
And then there’s the act of finding those answers, putting the methods of science into action, that I find more fascinating than any bit of fiction. There are astronomers who use telescopes to peer back in time. Biologists who discover new species in both familiar and faraway places and struggle to figure out how to save others from extinction. Even a non-scientist sitting at a computer can help to solve molecular structures, hunt for planets or decipher ancient Egyptian texts during lunch break. Science is often, simply, fun.
Science is also the light that keeps us out of the dark ages. It may not solve all of our problems, but it usually shows us the path to the solutions. And the more we know, the more questions we find. It’s a never-ending search for answers that will continue for as long as the human race exists. And guaranteed satisfaction for the little girl inside me, the one that still asks “why.”
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About Sarah Zielinski
WONDERS OF SCIENCE
We live in the age of science. It is almost impossible to think of modern life without science. Its influence and impact on the life has been so deep and extensive that it has turned this earth into a land of wonders and marvels. All our amenities, comforts and luxuries are the gifts of science. It has changed the complexion of the things to an unrecognizable extent. If anyone of our ancestors were to come, he would certainly fail to recognize the world as the same where he had lived and worked.
The present day world is more comfortable, more charming and more desirable than it was during the period of our grandparents. It is so because of the blessings and wonders of science. For example, take the means of communication. They are so fast and easy that countries have come very close to one another. We have conquered both time and distance because of these quickest possible means of transport and communication. Telephone, cell phone, computer, fax, radio, T.V., satellites, space-shuttles and rockets, supersonic aircrafts etc. are wonderful achievements of modern science and technology.
The blessings of science are too many to be enumerated. See what an amazing gift is computer. So is atomic energy. This mysterious force is many times more powerful than electricity. Atomic explosions can be used for removing mountains, dragging underground deep tunnels and in the construction of very big dams. It runs our big factories, mills and other industrial establishments. The uses of atom for progress are unlimited.
Science has relieved the housewife of much of her toil. There are scientific gadgets for every work. We now have washing and sewing machines, dishwashers, grinders, juicers, automatic irons, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, micro-ovens, air-conditioners, personal computer and what not. These gadgets have turned our world into a dreamland where you have only to wish and it is fulfilled the next moment.
In the field of surgery and medicine the achievements of science are no less wonderful. Many fatal diseases have been tamed. Now they are curable. Many vital parts of our body can now be transplanted. In near future we would be able to have our bodies overhauled as we have our cars or washing-machines today. We have conquered death and disease to a great extent. Consequently, life expectation has considerably increased and rate of mortality decreased. Plastic surgery can transform an ugly looking man or woman into a handsome person.
We have conquered space. Man had already reached the moon. His un-manned spacecrafts have landed on other planets. Robots can work efficiently in factories, mines, depths of the sea and even in dangerous places where perhaps man cannot dare.
In short, the wonders and blessings of science are countless. In other fields like education, agriculture, business and entertainment, its success has been miraculous. But unfortunately science is also a bad master. Man is becoming slave of machines and scientific gadgets day by day. It had produced many horrible weapons like atom and hydrogen bombs, missiles etc. The examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are there. We have so many deadly weapons of such great dimensions that they can destroy the whole world many times over. But for this science is not to be blamed. The evil is within us. We have conquered elements and space but we have yet to conquer the devil within us. It is useless to blame science as a cause. It is the man himself who is responsible for the so-called ills of science.
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