99% of the ocean floor is unexplored.
99.99% of the ouster space is unexplored.
90% of the human brain is unexplored.
And what are we doing? Inventing flushable toilet paper cardboard rolls.
—source unknown to me
What is science, really? What are we here searching for and what can be found? My favorite site IFLScience.com has some interesting articles but that does not strike me as pure science. What is it then?
Let’s ask my old friend Google, shall we?
Well, there you have it, I suppose. I like this definition better, though; as I love this quote:
None but those who have experienced them can conceive of the enticements of science. In other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder.
—Mary Shelley in “Frankenstein”
Mary speaks of the enticements of science, right? There is, indeed, something continually enticing me to move forward. Fuck the politics of the job! Fuck the stupid chase of funding! I am in this to understand why something I know to work works.
You see, I have an intuition of sorts about the phenomena I study. It is simple. It is governed by basic laws of Physics. It is right there for you to grab. I know what it is supposed to do, I just have not yet figured out how to make it do what I know it can, if I make any sense.
As an engineer, most of my “job” is to make things work. Make things work. Think about it.
Science is the study of how things work. I make things work by understanding how they work [or attempting to do so]. For me, “science” is the pursuit—an endless pursuit—of the “make it work, gosh-darn-it!”. I don’t care about the ocean, the space, or the brain; I care about one simple thing like electrocuting myself to force my body to recover faster: I know it works and I wish to learn everything about the mechanism by which it happens. That is all.
The question I frequently ask myself is if this is, really, the right kind of science or if this is “science” at all. However, to be honest, I really don’t care since I am on a pursuit and I think Mary Shelley agrees with me.
What is “science” to you?