Why I Believe in Science

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Physics and chemistry weren’t my favorite subjects in school—I found them boring. I imagined scientists working on weird stuff in laboratories—I didn’t understand why I had to care about their discoveries. In my mind, science was a thing for geeks.

I wished that science teachers took more time to show kids the reason why subjects like physics and chemistry are not abstract concepts created by scientists in a lab—but that they are present in our daily life. Physics, for example, governs the laws of the Universe and explains why we are grounded by gravity, and chemistry is something we can observe when we cook. I understand that it’s not easy to grab the attention of kids and adolescents with numbers and formulas, but teachers should look for creative ways to explain the reason why we should care about science.

I am lucky enough to have an uncle who studies stars; he is getting old now, and I regret that I never went to the Planetarium to listen to one of his lectures. I grew up more interested in languages and humanistic studies; I don’t think I would have made a great scientist because I have never been good at math, but I still regret not spending more time on my physics and chemistry books.

The stereotype of scientists is still present in our society. They make incredible discoveries that are essential to the development of the human race, but when it’s time to make people excited about them, they fail—most of them lack communication skills. When a scientist is talented, and he/she also has a way with words, the effect is powerful. Carl Sagan, the famous American astronomer, was a remarkable scientist but also a poet. If you read some of his quotes or book passages, you can’t help but be in awe in front of his words.

Luckily Carl, left us an awesome successor, Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is an astrophysicist but also a talented writer and entertainer—he brought science down from the geek pedestal and made it approachable. Did you watch the series Cosmos?  It’s a masterpiece, incredibly well done in terms of content and visual effects. Neil deGrasse Tyson was able to tap into that curiosity that we all have hidden somewhere in a corner of our brain. The first time I listened to him, I immediately understood why I didn’t care about science before—no one was able to explain it to me in a compelling way. I believe many people felt the same way because he became a celebrity. The big difference is that celebrities are usually focused on themselves—Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about life, science, and he teaches us something new every time he speaks.

It’s important to talk about science at the dinner table, especially in a time when politics is not listening. Scientists don’t have special interests; they just want to help humans develop their full potential and avoid natural catastrophes when possible—it’s sad to see that different groups confine science to a corner and treat it as an area of special interest in the political arena.

Science represents the evolution of the human race—it defined life-changing moments in history, like when Einstein discovered the theory of relativity, and when climate change was declared a global threat. We have to listen to scientists if we want to survive as a race and improve.