Starts With A Bang

5 Vital Lessons Scientists Learn That Can Better Everyone’s Life (Synopsis)

The dusty regions that visible-light telescopes cannot penetrate are revealed by the infrared views of ESO's HAWK-I instrument, showcasing the sites of new and future star formation where the dust is densest. Image credit: ESO / H. Drass et al.

“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” -Johannes Kepler

There are a lot of myths we have in our society about how the greatest of all scientific advances happened. We think about a lone genius, working outside the constraints of mainstream academia or mainstream thinking, working on something no one else works on. That hasn’t ever really been true, and yet there are actual lessons – valuable ones – to be learned from observing the greatest of all scientists throughout history.

The gravitational behavior of the Earth around the Sun is not due to an invisible gravitational pull, but is better described by the Earth falling freely through curved space dominated by the Sun. Image credit: LIGO / T. Pyle.

The greatest breakthroughs can only happen in the context of what’s already been discovered, and in that sense, our scientific knowledge base and our best new theories are a reflection of the very human endeavor of science. When Newton claimed he was standing on the shoulders of giants, it may have been his most brilliant realization of all, and it’s never been more true today.

Kepler’s Platonic solid model of the Solar system from Mysterium Cosmographicum (1596). Image credit: Johannes Kepler.

Come learn these five vital lessons for yourself, and see if you can’t find some way to have them apply to your life!