Welcome all, to Just A Theory, my own little corner of the internet. Hopefully you are here because you have at least a passing interest in science. I love science. I love opening a newspaper to read about an amazing new discovery, with the potential to change the world. I love watching documentaries about passionate people explaining their ideas. I love the beauty of Euler’s equation, which communicates a world of mathematics in just seven symbols. I even love science fiction, despite its propensity to get the science wrong.
I think my passion for science stems from simply asking the question ‘why?’ By the time I was 7 years old, my parents had clearly had enough of answering ‘why?’ and bought me a copy of the Oxford Children’s Encyclopedia. A fantastic set of books, I still have my copy, although it has been horribly abused with broken spines, ripped pages, and everything else that makes a book lover weep. I like to see its dishevelled state as a testament to how many times I read it, as I enjoyed learning about exciting concepts such as black holes and gravity for the very first time.
Most children like learning about science (after all, who doesn’t like blowing things up in experiments) but many are turned off when the fun gives way to SATs, GCSEs, and endless learning of facts by rote. When they grow up and become adults, exposure to science is often in the form of scare stories – hardly inspiring.
It’s such a shame that these people are turned off to science. Science provides so much for us, but it is also very misunderstood by those who benefit from it every day. Part of the problem is the majority of scientists are not expert communicators. The stereotype of a bearded man in a lab coat who wanders around in a world of his own is of course exactly that, but not completely untrue. When you have devoted your entire life to one area of study, it can be very hard to explain your ideas to a media that thrives on sound bites.
In October I will be starting a course on Science Communication at Imperial College. I hope that this will lead me into a career as a science communicator, someone who can take these grand ideas and present them so they will be understood, appreciated and enjoyed by the public at large. As such, I had been planning to start this website for a few months now, but as is so often the case I put it off until the proper motivation arrived, in the form of Science Blogging 2008. I’m looking forward to the extensive programme, as well as meeting other science bloggers. Of course, I’ll post a full account after the event next month.
I hope that you enjoy Just A Theory, and find it both informative and entertaining. Feel free to leave a comment with any thoughts or suggestions you may have. Your first comment will be held in a queue for moderation before appearing on the site – annoying, I agree, but comment spamming is almost as bad as the email variety. Once it has been approved, any further comments will be published immediately. Thank you for visiting, and once again – welcome.