Science is everybody’s Business
Are you someone who is curious about the world around you, stands in wonder or bemusement watching and listening to what is happening in nature? Then you have the makings of a scientist, a person who is looking to discover how this beautiful world works.
For most people, however, life gets in the way and they don’t take the next step to become the devoted scientist who brings observations together, researches for explanations, develops and tests hypotheses. Most people will have studied some science during their education, even if they did not proceed beyond the basics, while others will have expert knowledge and understanding.
What is science?
European expeditions that ‘discovered’ Australia invariably had science as one of their goals. No doubt the experience and knowledge of Indigenous people that evolved over many thousands of years was at least as sophisticated and practical, and passed from generation to generation orally rather than in learned papers. In the 19th century, institutional and professional features of science began to take shape; along with changing the term ‘natural philosophy’ to ‘natural science’.
Science is about the how of the physical, natural world, the cause of an observed event, the behaviour of a process. Sometimes these questions can stray into territory of why. How and why answer quite different questions. When we seek for answers about the purpose or reason for what we have observed, we are moving beyond science into the province of philosophy or religion.
It is when we leave behind factual observation and evidence and start to ask questions that need a leap of faith or a system of beliefs that we move into a new realm. In serious issues such as pandemics and climate change, ‘science’ and ‘popular opinion’ often clash. Many voices offer quick opinions, and political sound bites become ‘common knowledge’, regardless of the facts.
The files below are PDFs. Sometimes, you may need to click at the bottom of a document to read the subsequent pages in an article.Strange things about particles long ver
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