How To Live Your Life Like A Scientist?

A look at four essential qualities of a scientist.

A scientist is someone who studies or has expertise in science. More generally, they are people who love figuring out how or why things happen. They conduct research in an area of interest to advance our understanding of nature. The fruits of their labour make ordinary life a rich, comfortable and overall a worthwhile experience.

Throughout history, we have witnessed that scientists have propelled our society forwards. Wouldn't it be better then if everyone lived their lives more scientifically? In this post, we will explore what it would mean to live life like a scientist. Let us see.

1. Question Authority

Nearly 400 years ago, during a time when scientific thinking was curbed by the church, Nicholas Copernicus, a Polish priest, gave a clear and detailed explanation for the rotation of the Earth, and other planets on their axes, and their motion around the Sun. Galileo Galilei came in support of the Copernican ideas, openly.

This first scientific movement created a great sensation because the 2000-year-old model of heavenly bodies going round the earth was threatened. The new knowledge disturbed the stability of the church and the social order itself. It immediately led to conflict with the church which resulted in Galileo's trial. He was condemned and forced to go back on his words.

Question authority

However, he did not stop, even after being tried and condemned by church. Galileo really wanted to describe how the Copernican system was valid because he had seen things, through a telescope, that is, four tiny objects circling Jupiter.

Galileo boldly questioned all the accepted world-views. He was daring enough to publish his controversial discoveries in a book and dedicated it to the pope. Then eventually when Galileo Galilei became an authority himself, he was wise enough to turn back to question his own arguments, through carefully created experiments.

2. Think Creatively

On a nice summer day, Isaac Newton happened to observe the falling of an apple. Instantly, he asked why. Then, he proposed the possibility of an invisible attractive force between the apple and the earth. Newton did not stop there. He went on to describe the amount of attraction between any two bodies of mass with mathematics, of course.

But even the genius of Isaac Newton wasn't accomplished enough to explain why the objects attracted each other in the first place. More than 200 years later, it was the creativity of Einstein's thinking that successfully explained what even Newton couldn't.

Curved Space and time
falling bodies in curved space

The world is spinning on a stretchable fabric of space and time, said Einstein. This flexible fabric is disturbed by the existence and motion of masses. The objects move through it, distorting it, falling into it, and so on. The little masses, for instance, circle the bigger one, simply because they are falling into the space-time curvature created by it.

3. Overcome Limits

Michael Faraday was born on 22 September 1791 to a very poor family in South London. From a very young age, he used to work menial jobs to support his education. At the age of 14, while working at a book-binding shop, Faraday came across a physics book. This book introduced him to the wonders of experimental science.

self-made scientist

Faraday went on to become not only a renowned scientist but also an inspiration for the likes of Einstein and Tesla. He introduced the world to the relationship between electricity and magnetism. The discovery of electromagnetic induction and invention of dynamo were the main reasons for crowning Faraday as the father of electricity.

Now, in recent years, we have the example of professor Stephen Hawking. He could not talk without computer assistance, sat on only one chair, but still, despite limitations, in his case physical limitations, he was able to accomplish mostly everything.

while there's life, there's hope

When in his twenties, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. At the age of 21, he was informed by the doctors to put his affairs in order and prepare for death. At such a young age, anybody could falter. But, on the contrary, Hawking went on to complete his PhD on the properties of expanding universes, in 1965, aged 23.

4. Brave criticism

A revolting thought is welcomed with criticism and sometimes dealt with punishment like in the case of Galileo. But it is the job of a scientist to introduce the world to new ideas and therefore he/she must not be afraid of criticism.

Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein were in good terms on a personal level. They were in fact the best of friends if some sources are to be believed. But then, it came, a quantum revolution, which created professional rivalry between the two greats. Bohr was the vocal supporter of the new theory. On the other hand, Einstein its leading opponent.

criticism is a part of life

During this time, Einstein ridiculed Bohr by saying, "Does God play dice with the universe?" to which Bohr had famously replied, "Please, do not tell God what he can and cannot do." Einstein was so discomforted by the new quantum theory that he went on to devise experiment after experiment aiming to destroy it.

But Bohr emerged victorious each time.

Their debates are remembered because of their importance to the philosophy of science. Bohr respected Einstein's persistence and Einstein praised Bohr's brilliance. The two scientists were involved in one of the highest points of scientific research in the first half of the twentieth century.

Today, scientists are facing criticism because of the growing ignorance among people. In a time when we are planning to colonize Mars, there are still those who say that the earth is fixed and flat. There are plenty who use astrology in day-to-day life. Evolution which is a well-backed theory is declared a propaganda.

Scientific progress is at risk.

bring about a change

In such a case, science communicators like Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins and others are needed. They have spoken strongly against pseudoscience and rightfully so. We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows or cares anything about science and technology, which is a shame, really.

Summing up

Now you have the four essential qualities of a scientist. You must not be afraid to question authority, especially when they are wrong, you must think creatively, think out-of-the-box, overcome limits and most importantly accept criticism a part of life. These traits of a scientist will build a distinctive personality in an otherwise boring existence.

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