This blog is a collaborative effort between the Foundation for Student Science and Technology (formerly the Canadian Young Scientist Journal) and Science.gc.ca. Our aim is to offer an interactive platform where Canadian students can talk about their passions, challenges and ideas on how to further pursue scientific interests and education. We welcome new contributors -- if you are interested please contact us at information@science.gc.ca.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Love Letter to Science: Confessions of a Compulsive Adulteress

Originally Published: October 30, 2014
By Alicia Lang

I have a confession to make.

First, I am not the devoted science junkie you think I am. I hate to admit it. I would pass over a glowing-blue, banana-scented test tube for a bag of warm, fudge-filled, melt-on-your tongue brownies any day. I love art, history, music and literature. I love what you would condemn as the vanities of life - you shouldn’t. Indeed, my love for you, too, stemmed from those legends of great kings and emperors seeking the fabled Fountain of Youth.

At age 12, you proposed to me, proposed that aging was the macroscopic product of error accumulation on the various biological levels. I was ecstatic, initially from utter relief that the Fountain of Youth would remain mere legend, but later, too, because I liked that idea of inevitable downfall, to keep the ever-present human ego in check; Alexander the Great could conquer as many kingdoms as he liked, but would never be able to conquer the ageing man he saw in the mirror.

Second, I am violent. I enjoy smashing your atoms apart, and uncovering, in the process, the beginnings of the universe. I enjoy putting them back together again, in symmetry, because in the eyes of a scientist, symmetry is beauty. Symmetry, in this case, is also the Standard Model. Part of what can perhaps be called the most successful theory of all time - quantum theory - it is hinged, nonetheless, upon a philosophical foundation of sand.

And lastly, I am not a genius. My eyes often ache from your dense texts riddled with jargon and equations. I conceive of Newtonian dynamics in terms of spheres and cannonballs. I make sense of relativity through cartoon clocks and spaceships. At the most abstract level, I actually do think of string theory in terms of the interactions between strings.

But at the end of the day, when I look at my laptop only to see minuscule electrons defying the laws of common sense, I cannot help but chuckle at your romantic jests.

With due love,
Schrodinger’s Cat

P.S. In all seriousness, many people in developed nations today undervalue science as the engine of their prosperity, and largely identify with my sentiments as the compulsive adulteress. It is instead those in emerging nations who truly embrace science for what it is: the LOVE of their lives.