‘The Scientific Lens’ aims to look closely at the scientific literature and share new and exciting discoveries in the basic sciences. It is a place to discuss all things science-related – including new discoveries, old problems, everyday questions that can be answered with science, the history of scientific research, policy decisions impacting science – anything and everything that has widespread relevance to science as it is done today.
A (short) message about science
Progress has been running on steroids these last few decades, and we are fast moving into an age where technology permeates every sphere of our lives. Scientists are daring to address some of the bigger questions about the nature of the universe. It is an exciting time to live in, and most of us are going to observe things in our lifetimes that was the stuff of wild science fiction a generation ago. This is the time when science needs to stop being the precinct of the few and become something we live and breathe, as ingrained into our minds as the three ‘R’s taught in our childhood.
Unfortunately, there exists a sad disconnect between the worlds of active scientific research, and our ordinary day-to-day lives. Millions of research papers are published each year, and thousands of discoveries are made, most of which fail to reach the public ears. There are reasons for this – to begin with, the discoveries are often couched in so much jargon, that only a specialist can withdraw meaning. Secondly, sometimes, these discoveries are made by small laboratories, and are published in small journals, and thus pass unnoticed by the press and the public. Also, a discovery at the time of its making may just be a crucial cog in a much larger wheel, a springboard for further findings, which neither the discoverers nor the readers realize at the time. The research process itself suffers from several structural and logistical problems, with excessive competition, narrow focus and shrinking research funds threatening laboratories worldwide. And the biggest threat is apathy, both from the government and the people, towards any research not aimed directly at human benefit.
This is an appeal to you, my reader, to give science a chance, and not to let it remain the domain of the nerds and the geeks only. Pick up a science magazine, read one of the many wonderful popular science books, follow this and other science blogs, attend public lectures, watch youtube videos. What you will find will
not disappoint you.
I would also like to direct you to my welcome post on this blog, which talks about what science means for various people.