September 19, 2019 | 47° F

Science, arts can exist in harmony


During my time managing The Daily Targum’s science section, I have noticed two things: Science majors are afraid to write and liberal arts majors are afraid to apply their knowledge of science. I understand the fear on both sides, but the doubt that stems from inexperience should never stop anyone from treading new ground. Even if in private, those who study science should practice communication and vice versa. The two fields, undoubtedly, should be married — science represents the etchings of our observable truths while communication sets the agreed requirements for an idea to be engraved eternally to that wall of truths. No one person has the answer to everything. Everyone experiences the world in a different way, and to achieve truth, it’s imperative to understand each person’s perspective.

Everyone craves interaction with others. Everyone, by the same token, craves science. Have you ever found yourself wondering why ice “burns” or why the water in a heated pot bubbles after a certain point? When you did find out why, didn’t you want to tell all of your friends? Without science, you would not be able understand the former, and without communication, the latter is impossible.

It’s also understandable that many people find the infrastructure of science intimidating, sometimes even horrific. Others embrace it and use it as a guideline to build on their mastery of the world through meticulous measurement. These masters of experimentation are dubbed “scientists.”

The title, by definition, defines a person who has devoted their life to figuring out one of the physical sciences, be it physics, chemistry and so on. This does not go to say that contributions to science and mathematics are exclusive to these people. Scientists are not more intelligent or capable than the average person. They are not superhuman machines constructed for logical reasoning. They are not thinkers who communicate strictly through pages inked with sigmas and Latin abbreviations and eshes (that is the sign for an integral in mathematics). They are people. People, who like everyone else, are gifted with patience and a painful drive to satiate curiosity. And the ability to respond to that curiosity is what makes each and every one of us human. It is what makes us “intelligent.”

Being intelligent is not scoring an A or a B in organic chemistry, being able to apply the theories of thermodynamics or even being able to deliver an entire lecture on an advanced course in astrophysics — being intelligent means having the determination and endurance to fill the holes in your starving mind. Your mind should be represented by more than one spectrum of letters and each mind should be treated with that exact sort of complexity. We’re all scientists in our own way — dissecting either the world we’ve been birthed into or other worlds that we have created: A baker experiments with his or her ingredients to achieve delicacies of differing deliciousness, a musician manipulates sound waves travelling through the air to fabricate a new voice, a writer cuts through quotes to carefully construct concrete concepts. And through communication, the baker combines his or her ideas with other people, bakers or non-bakers. The musician shares the discovered voice and merges it with other voices, musical or non-musical. The writer opens a forum for intellectual collaboration, studied or non-studied. We all seek a truth, and that truth is only attainable through assistance from our co-inhabitants. As long as you are seeking a truth, you are being scientific and intelligent.

As Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it in his opening regards to “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey:” “This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules: test ideas by experiment and observation, build on those ideas that pass the test, reject the ones that fail, follow the evidence wherever it leads, and question everything.” Note the use of “searchers” as opposed to “scientists.” Science is made by the curious. Everyone’s got a bit of science in themselves — nobody should feel afraid or ashamed to let it out.

Andrew Rodriguez is a School of Engineering senior majoring in electrical and computer engineering. He manages The Daily Targum’s weekly science section.

Andrew Rodriguez

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