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Saturday, 4 June 2016

Science for the people! (Alternative title: low blood sugar makes for incoherent blogging)

Science affects you. Yes, you. You're reading this on some kind of electrical device; science. You're probably wearing clothes made of a synthetic material; science. You didn't bring an umbrella today because the forecast said sunshine; science. Room's lit by a lightbulb? Science. Got wheels on your chair? Science.

... You probably get the point. That understanding is science too!

Science is everywhere, and everything interacts with science; either it's made using whatever technology, or there are laws of physics interacting with it, or it is known (or being researched) how it evolved, how it all works at the molecular level. It's like the Matrix; it's there when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes... Science isn't some magic thing happening in a lab somewhere, that's just a tiny science-chunk. Science is for everyone, and more importantly affects everyone all day every day. Plus, it's totally awesome stuff!

Every day we as a species find out new things about the world around us. So many exciting, amazing things! But a lot of the time, if you're not actively looking for the science news you won't hear it. News headlines are full of business, politics, famous people, sports and war. These all impact on our lives, sure, but not nearly as much as scientific advancements do! Maybe war actually, that's pretty bad. But I'd much rather be told about the week's medical advancements, good and bad (looking at you, antibiotic resistance) than about which politician wants me to vote for them or what the celebrity of the day is having for lunch. Knowing Usain Bolt might lose a medal from nearly a decade ago won't help me if I get multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. Maybe if people were actually told about things like antimicrobial resistance back when scientists first realised about it then maybe we wouldn't be in so much trouble.

So, why am I saying this? I started this blog to tell people about science. I love science, it is fantastic. But it is also really important that people a) learn about what stuff is being researched because it probably affects them way more than they would realise and b) become interested in science so they pursue it themselves as either a career or hobby or whatever. I doubt I can get the whole world to read my blog, but that doesn't matter. If you like it, if you are interested and if you are affected in a positive way by it, that's a huge victory!

But judging by the people who interact with my twitter things, you're almost certainly a scientist, PhD student or some other academic (or one of my friends). I need to find a way to interest people who wouldn't normally look for science stuff. It might sound like I'm leading this up to some kind of announcement of something I'll be doing differently but it's not because I don't know what to do differently! To be honest, I barely know how to do what I'm doing right now. I don't know how to blog, make videos, or any of it, not really.

BUT THAT'S OK! Not knowing things shouldn't stop us from trying to figure them out. Isn't that what science is all about? Making the unknown known. Finding out how things work and then using that knowledge.

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