“When I say, ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are.” –Joss Whedon

When you first venture out into the world, you’re armed, as a human being, with an incredible intelligence, but with no experience. All sorts of basic things must be learned, often the hard way: hot things will burn you, hot things that don’t look hot will also burn you, and that even very cold things will burn you, too.

Image credit: Nicolas George.

Image credit: Nicolas George.

Figuring those things out — and the process by which you learn them — is science, in and of itself. But to move forward requires that we understand why, and that’s where scientific theories, leaps and even revolutions come into play. Don’t let bad science reporting take you away from what science is really all about: the knowledge and joy of figuring out how the world and Universe really works.

Image credit: NASA’s Gravity Probe B / STScI.

Image credit: NASA’s Gravity Probe B / STScI.

We all think we love science; find out what that really means today!

Comments

  1. #1 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    August 27, 2015

    Ethan, the two hands of Nicholas George’s colleague, there on the right. Do you know if they were already prosthetics before he started working with LN2 ungloved?

  2. #2 MandoZink
    Louisville, KY
    August 27, 2015

    @Michael Kelsey

    A photo from this same event, also credited to Nicolas George, is on Wikipedia’s “Liquid nitrogen” page. Hands possibly acquiring brown spots. Must be seconds later in sequence. Probably solid and sitting on (or stuck to) a shelf a few moment after that.

  3. #3 Denier
    United States
    August 28, 2015

    @Ethan

    You’re a good person. I believe it is human nature to project your own motivations onto others. Trustworthy people believe others to be trustworthy. Criminals think others are out to get them. I like that you believe people are motivated by concepts that fire the imagination and a desire to see the achievement of game-changing theoretical leaps.

    In my tar black cynical soul I believe that people like to see the mighty brought to earth. It could be a gorgeous beauty contestant rambling painfully through a nonsensical answer about education such as in Iraq and South Africa. It could be a powerful anti-gay Republican getting caught tapping his foot in a Minnesota Airport bathroom. It could also be the brightest of the bright, the smartest of the smart, being intellectually wrong.

    There are certainly those out there who want to know why it is 5600″ instead of 5557″, to build brick on brick to better understand this magical domain we inhabit. It is just that I think the majority out there care more that Newton was wrong, and by knocking him down a peg it puts the reader closer to his level.

    Now lets rip down some Einstein.

  4. #4 Wow
    August 28, 2015

    “Trustworthy people believe others to be trustworthy. Criminals think others are out to get them”

    cf the deniers claims of “AGW is a scam” and “It’s all a plot to steal our freedom/money” or “They merely want to install a New World Order” and so on…

  5. #5 See Noevo
    August 28, 2015

    I love science, Ethan!

    That’s why I don’t love AGW or multiverses or abiogenesis or evolution.

  6. #6 dean
    August 28, 2015

    I love science, Ethan!
    That’s why I don’t love AGW or multiverses or abiogenesis or evolution.

    Your first sentence is a lie. Your second should really read with “I’ve never taken the time to try to learn anything about these things, so I just reject them due to my ignorance.”.

  7. #7 Wow
    August 28, 2015

    His second sentence is also a lie. He HATES AGW and evolution and has no clue about abiogenesis and multiverses but will LOVE to use those two, misapplied, to “prove” science is wrong.

    Because he loves himself more, and his religion puts him as the reason for all creation.

    As long as he believes.

  8. #8 Patrick Dennis
    August 29, 2015

    “First, if you intend to make a theoretical leap, your new theory must encompass all the successes of the old theory….
    Second, you must explain the newfound observation/experiment… ”
    Zeroeth, you must understand both the current theory and the one proposing to replace it in the first place. As Prof. Matt Strassler likes to tell us, [in physics], the equations are the theory. If you don’t understand one, you don’t understand the other. Blogs like Matt’s and Ethan’s reach out to those of us who didn’t get much beyond F = MA to try to qive us some insight into what’s going on, but in no way do I think that a picture of a bowling ball on a rubber sheet qualifies me to discuss the nuances of GR or its putative competitors, nor that contemplating a marble rolling about the domed bottom of a wine bottle makes me the go-to guy on the Higgs field. I’ll continue to read and ask questions, and if I come up with a competing theory I’ll put the equations up on the web and provide a link.

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