The Adventure and Stumbles of Science

To know more and more is a challenge that sets us in motion, so much that man has always been searching for more and more knowledge. Scientist amazed us with new discoveries, went into historical journeys, and some achieved world-wide fame and prizes with their investigations and inventions.

From the beginning, mistakes are punished, condemned. They teach us that wrong is wrong. We constantly lose out on things in our lives because of the fear of taking risks and making mistakes. Examples come from everyday life. A sad reality: a child is creative, his imagination has no limits, but as he grows up, he just wants to fit in, for his fear, or rather, terror to make a mistake. Something that touches close to all adolescents: we go to school, and failure to pass a test means failing a subject, and also, perhaps, a punishment at home. And finally, the thousands and thousands of adults who decide to live a safe, but monotonous life, doing a job that they do not even like.

However, the history of mankind is full of fortunate mistakes. What would the world be if, in the face of any mistake or criticism, all the great scientists, inventors, and thinkers of the world would have left their projects and works unfinished? Trial and error play a fundamental part in scientific work. Science is a puzzle with the aim of understanding the world around us. There is no easy way to reach a result or discovery, but that end is the motivation to travel a long and arduous path, full of mistakes, disappointments, and criticism.

In daily life we ​​find an infinite number of negative effects derived from mistakes, characterized by their irreversibility. We see mistakes as negative because we don’t expect anything good to come out of them. But, at the opposite and unusual pole, one can take mistakes as a “creative stimulus.” The cognitive characteristics of the scientist — seeing things from different angles, taking errors as new starting points, using previous knowledge and analyzing each possibility regardless of the time it takes — are fundamental to an investigation. With all these characteristics as work habits, a person dedicated to science should achieve his or her objectives; these habits should guide the researcher to their goals without being discouraged by errors, criticisms or fears.

In scientific methodology, error is seen as the possibility of guiding the hypothesis in unexpected directions. Many scientific discoveries attributed to error were, in fact, serendipity, such as the appearance of penicillin; also, some discoveries were previously despised and today are valued, like gravitational waves; and other discoveries have been as crucial to human history as they were controversial, like radioactivity. This is a clear example of the fact that society, scientific and non-scientific, had not, throughout history, had the tools necessary to judge as correct or erroneous a new idea. This is because some scientific discoveries have always been near to only a few people, sometimes science is seen with prejudice… but, fortunately, a lot of people are working hard to change the situation, to motivate people of all ages to get closer to scientific work.

Many times, despite their commitment, motivation, resources and desires, scientists do not discover what they want, but what is important for them is the whole way through which shows them new ways to start another research. This is science. That’s how a scientist works. I consider myself one of the people that science moves.

Written by: Trinidad Fanucci, 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures Mentee