Greetings folks! My name is Jacki and this is my Blog, Science Is Messy! I am the program assistant here and one of my main jobs is to create fun and exciting science demos for our customers. I have a background in environmental science and geomorphology but I will play with whatever science I can get my hands on! But before I can even begin, I need to tackle the white elephant in the room. You know, that thing that we all know, but no one wants to talk about? Well, for my first post, I am going to do just that! So let’s have at it!
Science is messy. There, I’ve said it. It’s messy. It has variables, unknowns, questions, incorrect hypotheses. It is gooey, greasy, stinky, and slimy and if you’re really lucky, something might blow up on you—say, baking soda and vinegar! Science is supposed to be messy which is why every kid should enjoy it, right? Hmmm… not always.
Anyone who has ever taken a science class knows that to justify science, you need the dreaded “M” word: yes, MATH! If you liked math, it wasn’t so bad. If you didn’t, well, now, that is a different story. You have to understand two basic certainties with both math and science to make the two work together. First: they need each other to work; and two: sometimes you need to avoid asking “why?” and just accept whatever is in front of you as fact.
The hardest thing I learned in life, thus far, is you cannot always answer the question “why?” Why? See, there it is! As humans, we want to ask that question to understand the world around us. It is natural, elemental and downright human. But sometimes, well, you need to accept the fact that you may not understand “why” right away.
I always wanted to ask why! “Why” do you do it this way? “Why” does it work this way? “Why” is the answer the answer? “Why” is the key to and downfall of every scientist in the world! We want to explain something but we don’t have the initial knowledge to help explain what we want to explain! Are you confused yet? Well, let me help you be unconfused!
The key to being unconfused about this conundrum is this: sometimes you just have to accept that “it is what it is” and that’s it. 2+2=4. We know this, we learned this in school, and we take for granted, without counting on our fingers every single time, that if we add two and two together, we will get a result of four. Period. End of report. Now, if I was to multiply 12 times 12, I would have an answer of…you got it, 144. I have to accept this also because I lack 12 fingers (I guess I could use my toes) to count 12 times each to find out that the answer would equal 144. I just have to accept it. Let’s up the ante and talk….ahhhh!!!...Algebra!!!! a+b=c. that means a-c=b and b-c=a. Why? Because that is just the way it is. We accept this as a fact of the human race.
Okay, so now that we have accepted the fact that we, sometimes, just have to accept the fact “it is what it is,” now we can tackle science. We know that we are on Earth and the Earth is round. This is an acceptable truth that we don’t really doubt anymore, right? How about this one—we breathe air that is made up of oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide and methane. Can we see any of this? No, it is just there. We know it is there because we breathe it, and past scientists have established that they have seen molecules and atoms and compounds, so we accept that this is what air is made up of. But think about it, we actually can look at some of these gases! Argon is the major gas in neon lights and methane, well, anyone who has ever smelled a cow has breathed in methane, right?
So, here it is, once again, science is messy! So, why fight it? Let’s not bother, but just explore together how messy we can get answering that word “why?” I hope you will keep up with me in my endeavor to un-mystify the mystery that is science. I will try to include pictures, step-by-step instructions, attachments, links, whatever I think you will find useful on our journey together. I will probably post once or twice a week so keep looking back here for more! If you have a topic you want me to tackle, let me know by emailing me at email@example.com. You can also leave me feedback, but please make it constructive! On top of the blog, you can also follow the Mayborn Science Theater on Pintrest, Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to our excursion into messiness and hope you come along for the ride!