Sunday, September 06, 2009

Three Science Influences

Steven Hill from the Testing hypotheses… blog wrote about his three science influences in a post titled, "Science inspirations." Alerted to this post by my one of my Twitter Profs (See my article), Andrew Maynard on Twitter (he's @2020science), I immediately wanted to comment. Although I am not a scientist in any way whatsoever, my deep love of science is evident to many who know me. Below I list the comment I made to his post about my three influences. I can't tell you how many more should be added to this list and I've probably forgotten a few that may or may not deserve to be in the top three besides these but I can annotate the list or do another one in the future.

I'm not a scientist at all but have a deep interest of science in all forms from the sidelines. That said, I was influenced by these three people in my love of science:

1) Carl Sagan - When I was in high school I read Contact and it's still one of my favorite books & I think a decent movie despite the flaws. Then I found out that Sagan was not only an author but a real astronomer and that "Cosmos" guy. It started lifelong love of learning about science that continues to this day.

2) Steven Spielberg - OK. Don't kill me for not picking all scientists for this list. But Spielberg's movies instilled in my a sense of wonder about the natural world. Jaws made me love the ocean animals, both scary and benign. Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial made me wonder what was really out there in the canopy of the stars overhead as a kid. Indiana Jones made me think about cultures, myth and archeology. Fiction may not always get the scientific facts all right, but they do provide a great jumping off point for young minds to go further and find out about the physical world and sciences in real life.

3) My mother - My mom has always taught me the importance of education. She kept the house well-stocked with books that I discovered at appropriate times growing up (including the Carl Sagan book mentioned at #1 on this list.) She also was a bit of a Star Trek and Sci-Fi fan herself so I grew up with a parent who encouraged both critical thinking and fantastical imagining. She influenced me to aspire to many of the things I am today (for better or for worse) but one thing I know is that it is because of my mom that I love to read and learn as much as I do. Both are endeavors that bring bring me great joy and satisfaction no matter what.

Alternate: My high school Marine Biology teacher - This guy was funny and his passion came out in a way that I never expected. He was so into his science that he would crack bad jokes and puns about the subject even if he was the only one to get the joke. Everyone got a good grades in his classes because he really made learning about science fun, not rote.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Great list - and no, I don't think inspirations should always be scientists :-) - I had Doctor Who on mine!