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Science: Facts, Processes, and More

Science is a most human endeavor, learned, performed and practiced by people with an urge to know and explain what is happening in the physical universe. It is not a set of beliefs. Nor is science simply a collection of facts. It is a process of learning, a road to discovery. Along the way the scientist collects data, makes comparisons, finds correlations and finally, shares with the world what's been found.

Like any other process, working in science can result in successes and failures. Each success is important, but so is every failure. Certainly it can be harder to talk about the failures than the successes, but the complete story of science comprises both.

It's not all serious work and grim purpose in the science lab. Behind those white lab coats and computer terminals, scientists enjoy doing what they do, and while a few might not want to admit it, they do have fun unlocking the secrets of the universe.

This may seem at odds with some of the prevailing media images we have of scientists: brainy loners, locked up in their labs, wearing skinny ties and lab coats, laughing at jokes written in Greek letters, pushing the envelope of the outer frontier while peering out at the rest of us through thick glasses and looking for their pocket protectors. (In other words, a mishmash of cliched images that make most scientists grimace tiredly.) To paraphrase an old Johnny Carson line, "You're wrong, media breath!" These stereotypes don't really put a truly human face on science, which is unfortunate.

More philosophy.

Carolyn's bibliography.