What Everyone Should Know About Science

Question: What should everyone know about scientists?

Sarah Schlesinger: And the first thing I think that I want people to know is that science is a dynamic process. I think many people regard it as static and something for a few people to sort of understand, and it sits over here in this tiny little corner. It’s so not the case. It’s this dynamic process of figuring things out, of discovery, of going back and forth, of controversy and disagreement, and synthesis of one person thinking one thing and another person thinking another, and then a third person coming in and saying, you know, parts of what both of you said are right, and parts of what both of you said are wrong, and this is probably what’s right. And it’s a way of figuring out the world that matters to all of us. And I think that in terms of the kind of science I do biomedical research, all of our health depends on research. You talk about healthcare. You talk about illnesses, drugs, all of that, without really good research, without a really fundamental understanding of how our bodies work, and how disease works, and how we can interfere with disease, how we can prevent disease, how we can cure disease, medical care is in the dark ages.

I mean, if you look at biomedical science, as we know it, came into existent at the very end of the last century. I’m not going to go into all the details of why and how, but just take my word for it. And if you look at how healthcare has changed and how peoples’ lives have changed with the ability of research and understanding to impact on healthcare, it’s unbelievable. It’s a huge quality of life issue for every person.

And one of my worries is with the lack of understanding of how important science is, it’s going to get relegated to a corner, and it’s not going to be something that people do with enthusiasm, and frankly that people fund and understand, because most things in science, and obviously there are some sort of concepts in physics that I hear, and I’m like yeah, okay, fine. I’m glad you can understand it, because I can’t. But certainly the concepts of what I do in biology can be readily understood by most people, and they should be. This is something that people should understand and participate in and care about, because it matters. It matters not only in the sort of philosophical sense of understanding the natural world, but it matters in peoples’ lives, in the quality of the day-to-day life, and the quality of their children’s lives.

 

Recorded on: June 10, 2008

 

"Science is a dynamic process," Schlesinger says, that matters in peoples' day-to-day lives.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less

Neuroscience confirms your subconscious shapes your reality

Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized.

Technology & Innovation

Groundbreaking neuroscience confirms what Sigmund Freud first theorized: that what we believe to be the objective reality surrounding us is actually formed by our subconscious. David Eagleman explains:

Keep reading Show less

Love in a time of migrants: on rethinking arranged marriages

Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.

Culture & Religion

In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.

Keep reading Show less