So I just wanted to clear up something that I’ve noticed. Recently, I’ve found that people hold a particularly high regard for people who do my course, and others like it.
For example, just after I started my summer job all the way back in July, I was just chatting to a few of the people I was working with, and when I mentioned that I was studying Chemistry, the immediate response was ‘Oh, so you must be clever then.’
This is a bit of a weird thing to hear really. As far as people on my course goes, I’m definitely not the most intelligent. In terms of my friends from home, I don’t excel at my chosen course more than anyone else. In fact, I often see my friends being far more successful than me. And I’m not saying that feeling sorry for myself, or anything like that. I’m just saying it to make a point: I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly clever.
But this general approach towards the Sciences from ‘outsiders’ is quite interesting.
As part of our course, we have a continuous theme running through the course, which is trying to prepare us for bridging the gap between chemists and non-chemists. It’s seen in different forms but is often described as something like ‘Science and Communication’ and it usually involves lots of speeches. But it has always been one of those things that myself and my friends go along with, you know, to indulge the lecturers or whatever. But maybe it does have a point after all.
Some of the people I’ve met recently have all given me the impression that they see Science as some kind of distant source of knowledge. Something that they could never understand. But that’s not really true. I mean, obviously a lot of Chemistry and other subjects like it can be quite complicated and intricate at times. But this gulf between such disciplines and the rest of the world is only there because of common perception.
There’s a famous quote by an even more famous scientist called Albert Einstein, in which he said “if you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself”. I think we’ve lost this approach somewhere along the way. And in my eyes, that’s a bad thing. I know that there’s a lot of things that we really don’t understand. Things that we’re still not certain of, and theories that we can’t prove, and all sorts like that. But there’s a lot that we do know about. And to be honest, Science really isn’t that scary (except Physics. Physics is terrifying).