What is Science to Me?

Many people criticise science for being too cold, for stifling creativity by being too ordered. From school’s example one might find it hard to dispute such a view, with correct procedures for this and special formulas for that and so on. My own belief is that science offers much, much more.

To me, science is understanding. Understanding, however, is not simple. First it requires curiosity and a desire to understand. Then comes the hard work, the research, the experiments, the interpretation of the data. To make a discovery or to prove a hypothesis requires patience, but to make an important find requires something else as well; imagination.

Scientific revolutions, be they small or large, come from creative people, with new perceptions of the world. Great art also comes from people who perceive and create worlds different to the norm.

Science’s new perceptions are just as beautiful as those of art. The difference is the excitement of building the intricate worlds, of linking different strands of knowledge and adding something extra, something no one else thought of. The satisfaction of understanding the universe is, to me, unequalled by anything else.

(Printed in the CRA National Science Summer School Session B Magazine, 1991)

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