Science Me! 13.7 billion years in the making

Undefined, Defined

Enter any number into a calculator and divide it by zero. What do you get? UNDEFINED. What in the name of Turing’s testicles does your calculator mean by undefined?

Classical Conditioning is Power

This is my friend Sutton, who volunteered for a harmless experiment in classical conditioning. Let’s start by poking him in the eye.

The Science of BroScience

"Do you even lift, bro?" This is the mating call in BroScience: those who measure their self-worth by the amount of weight they can lift. While there's nothing objectively wrong with gaining validation from physical strength, the dogma of BroScience can be...

Nikola Tesla Quotes

As the man who invented the 20th century, Nikola Tesla gave us alternating current, radio waves, x-rays, radar, hydroelectricity and transistors. Top chap.

Atoms 101: Chemistry Basics

The Ancient Greeks gave us the first concept of atoms, and so were not nearly as stupid as they looked, despite draping themselves in bed sheets.

Curtuteria Australis: Profile of a Body-Snatching Parasite

This is the true story of a parasitic flatworm called Curtuteria australis. This mysterious body-snatching organism lives within multiple hosts during its life-cycle. Curtuteria australis, or Curt because it's easier to write, doesn't have an easy life....

This Is a Bee

Sometimes you just have to draw a loosely scientific diagram of a bee and publish it on the internet without any questions being asked, ok? <a href="#" rel="nofollow" class="et_social_open_all"...

Nanomedicine: A Tiny Robot Invasion

Nanomedicine is coming for you. In a good way. Industrial nanotechnology has already been around for a good few years: think self-cleaning paints, water-repellent clothes, glass coatings, engine lubricants, UV protection. In fact, the tiny, invisible world...

How to Spot a Hermaphrodite Lobster

It's actually easier than you think. Instead of poking around its sex organs like a lonely fisherman, look for the half-orange, half-black colouring, also known as the split-coloured lobster. Said to occur at a rate of 1-in-50 million, the two-tone...

Charles Darwin Quotes

Charles Darwin was a heavily bearded chap who published the theory of evolution by natural selection. Turns out he had a good few philosophical views too.

Albert Einstein Quotes

As you very well know, Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. On Einstein's 72nd birthday on 14 March, 1951, photographer Arthur Sasse was trying to...

Who Built Stonehenge and Why?

Britain is full of ancient monuments. We practically trip over them on our morning stroll to the haberdashers. Medieval castles, Roman baths, Megalithic villages, giant hill figures: the landscape is littered with historic monuments, the most famous of...

How Old Do You Think You Are?

You think you know how old you are, but there are many different biological and cultural ways to measure how long you’ve been farting around on Earth.

What is Schrodinger’s Cat? And Can I Pet Him?

Don't be a silly sausage, you can't pet Schrodinger's Cat because he isn't real. He's a hypothetical cat in an 80-year-old thought experiment. He was created by Erwin Schrodinger in an attempt to illustrate his objection to quantum uncertainty. But the...

Wow! Science! Zap!

Welcome to Science Me, the place you go to get your science juice, freshly squeezed out of the teat of a great big science-flavoured orange. When most people think of science they imagine test tubes and Petri dishes and Einstein’s bad hair day. That might touch on the notions of chemistry and physics we suffered at school but science is actually much bigger than that.

Science is a truth-seeking system. It comes from the Latin word scientia, which means knowledge, and is characterised by systematic observation and experimentation. “Wait a second,” you say. “This already sounds terribly boring. Just what kind of website is this?” Don’t worry, I pat you reassuringly on the head. If it sounds boring, that’s because it is. You’re allowed to say that. The real zingaling of science comes from applying this system to the real world and then making exciting discoveries about it.

My main beef with art and philosophy and religion is they don’t give definitive answers. Maybe you’re fine with that, because you feel life is about expression and creativity and faith, and these are ways of exploring the myriad possibilities of what *might* be true and we can worry about what actually *is* true in the afterlife. But seeing as the afterlife might not exist, a whole lot of people aren’t satisfied with ifs and maybies. We demand objective truth from which we can scaffold our way to scientific enlightenment. And that’s how we get to invent space rockets and electric cars and augmented reality which make our lives a whole lot better along the way.

 

“Science is different to all the other systems of thought…
you don’t need faith in it, you can check that it works.”

Brian Cox, Particle Physicist and author of Why Does E=MC2? (And Why Should We Care?)

 

Imagine your day without the inventions of science. You wouldn’t get very far at all, unless you literally live semi-naked in the wilderness. For narrative purposes I’m assuming you don’t. This is one reason the war on science is totally unjustified and we need pro-science platforms like this website. Not just to celebrate the awesome of science but to help overcome the political and social agendas against it.

Science is built on four underlying principles:

–> Empiricism. This is the principle that accurate knowledge comes from direct observation. Empiricism means there is no scientific validity to things we can’t measure, like ghosts, telepathy and homeopathy. They could just as well be made up.

–> Testability. Hypotheses must be falsifiable. Claiming I have super powers (but only when no-one’s looking) leaves testability high and dry because you can’t prove me wrong, and I can’t prove me right. Religion fails to meet this requirement.

–> Parsimony (simplicity). Drawn from philosophy, this principle says when confronted with two possible explanations, choose the one that makes the fewest assumptions. The religion of Scientology makes wild claims which blow apart scientific parsimony.

–> Determinism. The universe is bound by cause and effect. Belief in fate, karma and even conscious free will have no scientific foundation because they all imply multiple (and therefore superfluous) causes for singular effects.

As if you need any further incentive to pursue a love affair with science, chew on this for a bit. Our modern world provides spectacular proof of the applied scientific framework, and its study now takes an astonishing number of forms:

 

Types of Science

 

So this is why I am enamoured with science. It gives us a reliable framework for discovering reality.

Little kids unknowingly do science all the time, while they’re still developing their processing schemas. My five-year-old first learns and then applies new knowledge when he spins around the living room to make himself feel dizzy. Or repeatedly pokes a cat until it claws him in the face. He makes no assumptions but just pokes away, gathering evidence for his research library, in what psychologists call bottom-up processing. Then, when he has enough scratches to make a conclusion, he stops poking and forms a theory that hassling cats has painful consequences. Such top-down processing is an efficient way of dealing with the world because he doesn’t have to go through the whole experimental rigmarole every time he meets a cat. Unfortunately as adults we use top-down processing even when we encounter new stuff. And we miss out on the whole open-minded schema which leads us straight to the truth of the matter.

That’s why we need science. To help us cast off our habitual top-down assumptions about the world. It provokes a questioning approach and a chance to play with reality in ways we haven’t done since we were inquisitive little human beings.

 

“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.”

~ Carl Sagan, Astrophysicist and author of Cosmos

 

 

Undefined, Defined

Enter any number into a calculator and divide it by zero. What do you get? UNDEFINED. What in the name of Turing’s testicles does your calculator mean by undefined?

read more

The Science of BroScience

"Do you even lift, bro?" This is the mating call in BroScience: those who measure their self-worth by the amount of weight they can lift. While there's nothing objectively wrong with gaining validation from physical strength, the dogma of BroScience can be...

read more

Nikola Tesla Quotes

As the man who invented the 20th century, Nikola Tesla gave us alternating current, radio waves, x-rays, radar, hydroelectricity and transistors. Top chap.

read more

Atoms 101: Chemistry Basics

The Ancient Greeks gave us the first concept of atoms, and so were not nearly as stupid as they looked, despite draping themselves in bed sheets.

read more

Life is Better with a Good Book

 

Science Me. Copyright 2016-2017 Rebecca Turner. All rights reserved.

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