Science and us - part II

credits: Ana Costa

How much do we care about science?

It was long ago that we learned to trust science and, without even knowing how, we now depend on it. We rely on its discoveries to change the way we live and we truly believe that its progresses will create a better future. It has been used to generate prosperity and it now stands as a valuable resource to be used for social and economical development. But in the course of our lives, how many times have we wondered: -what are scientists doing right now in their labs around the world and how is it going to affect us?

These questions do not follow us during the day or prevent us from sleeping at night. Unless something goes wrong, and then we realize there are things we do want to know. The milk left out of the fridge has gone off; - can we have products that last longer? Pollution in our cities increases every day; - can we have new ways to clean the air? It takes too many hours to travel to Australia; - can we have faster planes? And, in the case of deeper concerns: - will we be free of diseases one day? We do want to know if, when attacked by that expected seasonal cold or defied by a terrifying unforeseen cancer, science will give us the answers. To many of us, when things go wrong, hopes are deposited in science.

Commonly, science addresses problems and tries to solve them, from the infinitely small of nanodimensions, to the infinitely big of cosmic spaces. And if many have been solved in the past, more are to be solved soon. But science does more than that and if we don’t realize the broad nature of its achievements, we may be missing the fundamentals of the world we are part of. We can turn to science when things go wrong, but science will give us even more if we ask about the things that go well. To the questions concerning our problems, we should add the questions arising from our amazements. And as irrelevant as they may seem, questions are the first step leading to an explanation. 

PART3, the last one, to be published soon!

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