At its best, science is capable of inspiring practical technical innovations that benefit society. Whether you consider yourself a scientist or not, it is virtually impossible to separate yourself from the impact science has on your daily life. Science is everywhere – from the smart phone in your pocket, to the medicine you take for an illness, to the Google Maps you rely on for navigation.
It may all sound like magic, but I really do think that everyone is capable of understanding science. Unfortunately, many curious people have shied away from science for various reasons. Some of us have had great teachers, but not all of us have been so lucky. Some classes have taught that science is nothing but a dry litany of facts (nothing could be further from the truth, by the way). Still others have somehow absorbed the belief that they’re just not “smart enough” to understand science – but the truth is science is for everyone.
So many people have, upon learning that I am a neuroscientist, begun peppering me with questions (and oftentimes their own observations!) about the brain. This is exactly how good science begins: with curiosity and wonder. By linking questions and ideas to observations you’ve made in your own life, you have already taken the first step of scientific research: questioning. Don’t be afraid of the scientific jargon. A clear science communicator will break down the “fancy pants” terminology and explain the concept without relying solely on technical language – and dutiful scientists will take the time to explain it to you as clearly as they can. Follow them. Challenge them. Keep asking questions. Don’t be afraid of being a “layman” or asking a weird question. Some of the best questions come from the unbiased outside. We need you.
In fact, this is exactly why I choose to write about science – to step outside of the academic echo chamber. I hope to use this blog to improve my own ability to communicate the science clearly (and to share the excitement of the work with you!) Thank you for being here. Please feel free to comment, question and challenge me along the way!
P.S. The header image on this blog is created by artist Michael Tompsett. You can see more of his awesome work here.