My third grade science teacher made everything interesting and intrinsically fun. I remember sitting on the little stools in her classroom and wanting to know about the planets and atoms and ecology and chemistry and math and etc. At the time I knew that I wanted to go out and learn about the world. My fifty-year plan when I was ten-years-old was to become Jane Goodall through loving the world and all I saw in it. Alas, as I grew up, that plan withered. During my transition into older adolescence, I thought my scientific aspirations deflated because they were immature; too pure to ever really become anything more than a pang of childhood innocence. However, after this lecture about the Scientific Revolution, I have a different idea as to why my plans left me. Firstly, I depressed myself into thinking that all science is rigid and constrictive and secondly, I built up this idea in my mind that all scientific contributions need to be as impacting as the ones in the Scientific Revolution.
Since the 5th grade when I formally learned about the scientific process, I have been telling myself that science is not for me because there is too much restriction. I am a deeply creative person and any labs we did in class seemed cold, methodical and boring. What didn’t occur to me at the time, however, was that science was boring for me because my school didn’t have the scientific discipline that captured my curiosity. Coming to Colby nudged my inner child awake for there are a variety of sciences accessible to me. But it really was the philosophical aspects of the lecture on September 13th that abruptly woke up the dormant dreams of scientific discovery. Talking about the malleability of science throughout the centuries tells me that I can challenge the paradigm if I wish to.
The Scientific Revolution was my scale for how great a scientist was. Every discovery had to lead to a shift in modern thought. But Professor Daniel Cohen introduced the idea that the Scientific Revolution wasn’t all that scientific or revolutionary. It did challenge the ideas of the church and it is undeniable that it greatly affected the scientific canon of the contemporary world, but discoveries are constantly being made and that assures me that I too can find a place in the scientific community. A good example of a creative mind finding their way into the scientific world would be my childhood idol, Jane Goodall. Her research was unique and her methods were not conventional, but it is undeniable that her contributions changed the way humans walk this earth and treat animals.
This essay is titled “’Don’t Teach Me About ‘The Scientific Revolution’” because I believe that if my scientific education had been more centric on the future and the possibilities of science instead of romanticizing the past, my fifty-year plan wouldn’t have gone on such a depressing pause throughout the majority of my adolescence. Most of my misgivings about science came from myself, but I would be surprised if no one else in America turned their cheek from science because they felt the way I did.