Why do science?

I haven’t felt this much before. Perhaps I was inexperienced or didn’t know how to relate to others. This year’s Biophysical Society Meeting while browsing the posters, I have sensed this fear of those few presenters. I know the topic they are working on, which I shall not disclose here, is quite hot because more roles were identified for that particular complex. It is one hell of a drug target. I understand the need for secrecy, yet I cannot help but to question why do we do this?

Why do we do science? Is it for the sake of saving lives? Is it simply the need to satisfy the thirst for knowledge? What is your reason to become a scientist?

I don’t know you (you are more than welcomed to tell me all about it), but the path led me to science was sort of accidental. I love searching. There is nothing in this world that I enjoy doing more than searching. It all started with me questioning why I was different. But I shall not dig deeper on that for now. It is a subject that brings tear to my eyes to this day, because after all I have learned I cannot go back to my childhood and pass on what I have learned. Anyways the choices I have made regardless of why I chose them landed me in science and continued in this path.

Learning the scientific methodology, hearing more about the current topics, observing the behavior of other scientists… I have discovered why being a scientist suited me, and why I should continue while doing science. I have used my biggest resource, myself, as a test subject so to speak 🙂 So to summarize the result of my analysis: I continued to do science because (1) I was afraid of making a change, and (2) science brings me the freedom I so desperately need. But to be able to continue in science after this analysis I need more than the above two reasons. This third component is, as it turns out, vital for my survival.

Sharing and outreach…
Sharing: I don’t do science to keep it to myself. I want to share the results as soon as possible. I enjoy discussions (still have to battle with anxiety but I, now, know that I won’t die from it). If I have a result or an idea I spit it out. I don’t keep things to myself. I understand getting scooped up is a danger. But I should be confident enough that I will survive if that happens. That said, I understand why one wants to be more secretive and I do not wish that they change. This is just how I feel.
Outreach: Science should be expressed in terms that anyone can understand. I am stricker in this subject. I wish “all” scientists understood the importance of those outreach activities and “all” participated in one. Undermining the so called “lay person” is dangerous and it only alienates the rest of the world from scientists. It creates a stigma around us. Who says your greatest inspiration will not be the homeless you pass by every day? Just because life dragged us in different paths doesn’t make others unworthy of scientific knowledge. After all, the cumulative information gathered from experiments or calculations is turned into applications that shape the living conditions in this world that we all share.

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