What is this blog? and like, why?

Hello readers. Over the past few years that I have been involved in research, it has become apparent to me that people don’t really know what research actually is. This is not to point fingers at anyone, in fact perhaps the number one question I tried to ask other graduate students when I was interviewing for graduate school was “but like.. what do you do all day?” (I am purposefully leaving this question unanswered so that future graduate students can fantasize that I am working with unfathomable productivity towards a goal and not eating candy while taking 4 hours to write one paragraph in my office).

Indeed, science seems to take on an air of mystique in the general public- I remember thinking when I was younger that scientists were old white men that wore lab coats and goggles and either a) brewed Cancer Cures as a happy accident or b) menacingly cackled to themselves while slowly building their annihilatrix to destroy the world, or to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula.

It has occurred to me that I was not, and am not, alone. Not many people understand how science operates on a daily basis, how it involves them, who scientists are, or that to some degree, they themselves operate as scientists in their own lives.

Even this article bemoaning American adult’s poor understanding of science ironically demonstrates a misunderstanding of the very core of what science is. Science is not a list of facts, but an active process that involves many stages of trial and error, of mistakes and triumphs, mistakes that turn into triumphs, and rigorous testing and questioning of what we claim to already know. In short- we are truth seekers, and though we may use many different tools (from EEG to bug nets to chemicals), we all strive to meet this same objective.

I’m here to challenge the fact that until college, one of the only scientists I knowingly interacted with was Plankton. Scientists, in fact, are usually not microscopic organisms. We’re humans- humans that are a multitude of different races, genders, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, ethnicities, nationalities, etc.

How to use this blog if you are a scientist.

As much of a narcissist as I am, I would really love for this blog to not just be me ranting about my own work and why it’s important. Plus, I can attempt to explain chemistry, but I think I may have actually burned my chemistry 101 book after taking the introductory course in college. I would love to get contributions from you and your friends, no matter what field you are in! (And yes, as a pseudo social scientist, I count social sciences as science too). I would love to have you contribute either a) in the form of an interview with me or b) in the form of you writing about some of your work, or some work in your field you deem important.

How to use this blog if you are a teacher:

Share this blog with your students. Encourage them to comment with questions, reactions, additional interesting related things they found. Encourage them to comment just to say hi, or to ask a question about how you get involved in science. If you are local to the area, contact me or my friends, and we’d be happy to come talk to your classroom.

How to use this blog if you are a Regular Person:

Please read it! Share it with your friends. Use one of the posts to prove a point in a facebook argument with your aunt. Question. Critique. Engage. Read more. Reach out to the scientist in your life (there is definitely at least one).

How to use this blog if you are a dog: 

You don’t need this blog. You are already perfect.

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