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Let’s Talk About It: Science from a Non-Scientific Person

My name is Tim Herd, and I am a non-scientific person. Now my self-titled “non-scientific” label does not mean that I cannot explain the general theory of relativity or elaborate on quantum theory or nuclear just means that I do not feel like it. While I may not be well-versed in physics or environmental science, I too...practice science. As a social scientist, I incorporate scientific methods in my own research as I gather data using mixed-methods approach that includes both qualitative and quantitative strategies. The research that I do focuses on Black male retention, persistence, and matriculation through postsecondary education and includes topics such as Teacher Empathy: Contemporary Perspectives and Future Directions. In this study, I examine teacher’s perceptions of empathy and how they perceive their application of it impacts their young Black men and boys. 

Even though this type of science may not be considered science through the traditional lens of solar energy and nuclear science, it still is science. For me, this absence of intrigue for the sciences such as chemistry derives from experiences such as lackluster sixth grade volcano explosions and high school fizzy bottle pop chemical reactions. Now although my interests are not involved in the sciences, I understand its significance to the betterment of mankind. Everyday there are scientific innovations that advance technology and the way we view our place in the world. Websites such as ScienceMagcontinue to produce new articles such as Anthrax-carrying Flies Follow Monkeys Through the Forestto Reprogrammed Skin Cells Shrink Brain Tumors in Mice. Science according to Merriam Webster is the state of knowing and the department of systematized knowledge as an object of study. The object of study in sciences range from anatomy to biochemistry. The plethora of subcategories that build the foundation of the word science is astronomical within itself, and its exorbitant amount of options leaves one to ponder on the abundance of information that we have not even begun to examine. 

Along with the abundance of information that has yet to be discovered, it is also important to note that science has been practiced throughout human history as seen through early historical civilizations such as Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia between 3500 and 3000 BCE. It has been prevalent since ancient times and has helped guide us through significant innovations such as the Industrial Revolution to the creation of the light bulb. The technology that you are using to even read this stems from science. 

While I might not be the first person to register for the Science Olympiador examine the magnetic field flux on the Sun, I understand the importance of the sciences and some of its fundamental concepts such as hypotheses and theory. I also understand that my position as a social scientist falls under this large category of science, and it also helps advance the field of education. Astrophysicist, author, and all-around Renaissance man Neil de Grasse Tyson stated that “Science literacy is the artery through which the solutions for tomorrow’s problems flow”. Science is ubiquitous, and the more you know, the better prepared you will be to take on the problems of today and tomorrow. This means that even if science might not be your strength, having a little knowledge can be all you need to build concepts from there. So, while I may identify as a non-scientific person, I also know that I am a person who does science. Who knows, you could be the next scientist to generate new-wave nuclear power or find the cure to cancer. Or, you could be the next scientist to develop new policies and conduct research studies that helps improve the quality of education for all youth. In either way, both are scientist, and both contribute to the betterment of the field.

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