The story of a curious child that became a Scientist — How I got into Science!

in science •  2 months ago

Some people asked about my scientific background and that inspired me to write this post, in which I will share how I got interested in science in the first place and the steps that brought me to where I am today. Maybe it might serve as an inspiration for those who would like to kindle the love for Science in their children, siblings or family members, as well as those who are considering making a career as a natural science researcher – perhaps you are just curious to know what the path towards becoming a scientist is like!

As I had mentioned already in my previous article “Ever wondered what pursuing a career in science is like?” my interest in Science was fostered by my parents and my grandfather since I was a kid.

Even though neither of them works in the field nowadays, both my parents studied Biology. Therefore, in my home, talk about the natural world, genetics and science was always present.

My parents had a very nice collection of books about natural science; these books had big, glossy pages with amazing photographs and illustrations. Since I was very little (we are talking about 5-6 years old), one of my preferred ways of entertainment was looking through them. I was mostly looking at the pictures, but whenever I stumbled upon one I found interesting, I would read the caption and learn something.

My favorites were Cosmos by Carl Sagan, one about evolution and another about genetics. So, from a very early age, I learned about Mendel’s experiments with pea plants and how he discovered the laws of genetic inheritance, about Darwin’s trips to the Galapagos Islands, and how our planet Earth was just a tiny blue dot in the immensity of the universe. 

The kind of books I used to browse through to pass the time when I was little...

 I was fortunate to have parents who were very patient with me when it came to giving me explanations about the world around us and the way it works. They would always have a good disposition to show me things or discuss any questions I had or to provide me with materials that could help me learn what I wanted. My grandfather was the same, and along with my parents would frequently buy me science books and magazines designed for children. These books and magazines usually had a variety of experiments that you could perform with simple household items and served as a demonstration of some scientific principle.

This was a great way to learn science because by doing the experiment yourself, you could witness the result with your own eyes and also keep it in your mind in a more significant way than just reading about it in a book, because now you actually had created a fun and/or enjoyable memory about it!

One of these children’s magazines that I really loved was called “Chispa” (which means “Spark” in Spanish). It had the perfect mix of content to be really interesting for kids: short articles about some interesting fact of nature, kid-friendly introductions to scientific principles like diffraction of light, the effect of gravity and why eclipses occur, as well as fantasy/adventure short stories, comic strips and other entertaining features–I remember one about a chocolate factory, that showed how cherry-filled chocolates (my favorites!) are made.

On top of that, since I was already a mini-nerd by age 9-10, whenever there would be a chance to get a gift (for Christmas, my birthday, etc.), I would ask my parents for one of those chemistry experimental sets designed for kids and spend my afternoons performing the experiments suggested in them:

Look at all those test tubes full of colorful reagents!

I also had this one, that included simple experiments based on police and criminal analysis procedures (detecting fingerprints, blood stains, collecting evidence, etc.).

What all these resources had in common was that they didn’t make Science seem like a distant and complicated thing, but something that we could observe in our everyday life and play with – something we could get involved in and spend some time exploring and experimenting with. I believe this kind of early involvement is crucial to learn to become familiar with science and demystify scientific work.

Instead of looking at scientific work as some incredibly complicated, tedious and secretive enterprise, you start to realize that it is something that anyone could try and take part in. That is, you can train to become a scientist and make your own discoveries about the world if you want, isn’t that an amazing thought?  

Beakman's World was also seminal in my scientific formation as a kid: it was a TV show that presented scientific concepts and experiments in an incredibly entertaining, funny and clear way, great for kids and adults alike!

My high school years, and the inception of my scientific vocation.


Thanks to the early start I talked about above, Biology was always one of the subjects I enjoyed the most and excelled at during my school days. At age fifteen, I started competing in the Biology Olympiad, at first on the regional level, then state-level and finally at national level.

The Biology Olympiad is a knowledge-based competition in the field of Biological sciences, consisting of a theoretical exam and a practical one where you perform experiments and then analyze the data obtained. I did a lot of studying to prepare for it on top of my regular school activities.  I noticed that the subjects that I enjoyed learning the most about, and that felt effortless to study, were genetics and molecular biology (with ecology, plant physiology and biostatistics being the ones that I abhorred the most).

One day my grandfather, as he used to do from time to time, sent me a copy of an article he found interesting for me to read. It was an article about genetic engineering. It had such an impact in me that I remember the exact moment when I read it: in my High school’s library, sitting on a little table facing the main desk, with some sunlight softly shining through the window.

Genetically modified glowing mice! (Photo from Wikipedia commons)

I remember thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever heard of: using incredibly clever mechanisms, scientists could cut out little pieces of DNA using some sort of “molecular scissors” and then insert the pieces somewhere else – even in an entire different organism! In this way, they could confer new characteristics to the modified plant or animal that under natural circumstances it would never be able to possess: you could make such organisms glow, make them resistant to drugs or poison, but most importantly, this held the potential to cut defective genes and replace them with functional ones, which could cure many diseases.

It was then that I decided that I would train to become a natural scientist. More specifically, I wanted to become a Molecular Biologist, doing something related to genetics.    

University: doing my time on my way to becoming a scientist.


Honestly, my University experience was somewhat underwhelming. Thanks to all my hard high school nerding to compete in the Biology Olympiad, I already knew the basics of a lot of the content I was taught in the classes. 

One really nice thing about studying general Biology was going on field trips: here I am during a visit to a sea turtle nesting camp in my home state of Veracruz, in Mexico.

On top, since I studied general Biology as a career, I had to deal with lots of other stuff I couldn’t care less about like the life and adventures of placton, an in-depth look into the anatomy and physiology of lower Embriophyta (which in case you don’t know, are the least exciting plants in the universe) and let’s not forget about my most abhorred subject EVER: Edaphology, or the study of soil. I can tell you there are very few things in life less exciting than sitting in a lab looking at a bunch of dirt.

For the most part, as one of my classmates put it, university more or less felt to me like “High school, part 2”. 

Back in the day, note the photoshopped calculator that someone though would be a nice addition to this photo...

However, there were also amazing subjects with great teachers that were fascinating and I learned a lot from, like Mathematical models (applied to Biology), Evolution, Genetics, Ethnobotany and one that I discovered just then but helped me shape my current way of thinking: Philosophy of Science.  

At the lab with some of my university pals. Yes, I had crazy fire-engine red hair back then.

Things start getting serious, a taste of what being a Scientist is really like:  Master’s degree


After doing a summer stay in a laboratory that was part of one of Mexico’s biggest and most important research institutes, I decided I would like to do my master’s work there. Said lab specialized in programmed cell death occurring naturally during the development of mammals (when an embryo is developing, some cells must die to “sculpt” the fully formed organism that will be birthed afterwards), while also covering some topics related to how to exploit these programmed cell death mechanisms to get rid of cancer tumors, which was my area of interest.

To get into the master’s degree program offered at this institute, I had to undergo a three-hour long examination test along with the other candidates (I reckon there were about a hundred), and only the top 25 scores would be accepted as students in this very prestigious program.

I immediately felt a huge jump up in academic level as I started my master’s degree. While in my state university most of the people seemed to be there just to pass the time, here my entire group was conformed of highly intelligent, highly focused, hardworking individuals. For the first time in my life it was very evident I was no longer the “star” student, but just one of many –plus it was undeniable that there were people that were much smarter and better prepared than I was– which certainly was a though blow for my ego back then.

The work schedule was exhausting, starting with a non-stop block of intensive lessons from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM every day, followed by lab work that usually ended any time between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. Basically we lived in the institute, which didn’t feel like such a waste since the city it was in (not my hometown!) was actually quite boring and not very inspiring.

Then I started to do my first “real” scientific experiments; I tasted my first small victories, but also quickly became acquainted with the large amounts of frustration that one has to deal with as a scientist: experiments that don’t work or get ruined, little overlooked details that can have catastrophic effects in your results, finding out that what you thought was wrong all along and now you have to start over… the struggle is real, and your patience and resilience will be tested. Add to that a pinch of crushing pressure from your boss to actually make your project work since they have grants that they have to secure and sponsors they need to respond to, and you will find yourself pulling your hair for days on end.

But hey, at least I was doing what I had set my mind to. Here is a picture of cells that I genetically modified myself to make them glow for one of my experiments.

Even though it was incredibly tough at some points, I really learned a lot, and in the end I managed to get some results that were good enough to form part of a coherent scientific story in my lab, writing my thesis and using my master’s work as a presentation card for future recruiters.   

A bittersweet experience: My PhD in Molecular Biology.


Getting the PhD position that I currently have took a lot of work. During my master’s degree I had the chance to do a three month-long research stay at the Max Plank Institute in Berlin, and as a result I made it my ambition to go back and live there in such an amazing city that hosted such amazing science. I started sending lots of applications to different labs but no one would take me (often they wouldn’t reply at all).

Then I applied for an international PhD program in one of the most important institutes for molecular biology and biotechnology in Berlin; I had to do it twice, the first time I was not selected, and the second I managed to secure my place in the program.

Said PhD program was incredibly competitive. The second time I applied, we were told that they received more than 800 applications from potential students all over the world. From those, they selected about 50 people to fly them into Berlin for personal interviews. Then, after the selection process which included presentations of our master’s work and discussions with the group leaders we were interested in working with, about 20 people were successfully accepted as part of the program.

Part of an article published by a local magazine about our research group's work.

My PhD project pretty much seemed like a dream come true: it was within the field of cancer research, with a potential direct application to finding more effective therapies for patients. The hypothesis was exciting and very clever, groundbreaking stuff. On top of that, I would carry it out in one of the biggest and most prestigious groups in the institute, that seemed to have unlimited budget. I couldn’t wait to start.

As time progressed, it became clear that this project was an enormous task that required constant troubleshooting, re-analyzing and discussion with other experts in the area. To make a long story short, the great complexity of the project –both conceptually and technically–was not evident to me in the beginning, but clearly manifested a couple of years in. It felt really overwhelming at times, and I was doing something different to most other people in the lab so I had no immediate guidance.

Unlike other PhD students, I was not under the supervision of a Postdoc for my everyday work, but had to work independently and certainly many times felt like, despite my monthly meetings with my boss, I was on my own. I had to figure out by myself why things were not working and somehow come up with a way to fix them.

At some point, my PhD life started to resemble the famous “Bad Project” parody video much more than I would like to admit: 

(If you haven’t seen it and work in a biology lab, I highly recommend it, it is a freaking humor masterpiece)

In spite of the project dragging out for way too long due to such difficulties, in the end I managed to get some good results that were enough for my committee and supervisor to deliberate that my work could be considered “completed”. So, currently I am in the process of finishing my dissertation so I can finally start the graduation process to obtain my degree – and become Dr. Irime (yaaaaaaay!)

Not everything was gloom and doom, tough, through my PhD I had the opportunity to meet lots of amazing people, learn about incredible science that I didn’t even know existed, and constantly get intellectually stimulated and challenged. I also had the opportunity to travel frequently to many different destinations around the world, and was able to accrue some experience communicating my science to others… which brings me to my final point:

What is next?


After all these experiences, one thing is very clear for me: I love science, and I still find it fascinating and impressive as I did in the beginning. However, I can say with confidence that experimental research is not for me; if I can avoid it, I don’t want to ever hold a pipette in my hand again. The manual labor is tedious, exhausting and frustrating. I like the ideas, but I don’t enjoy the process of production of raw data.

During my PhD, I noticed that I enjoyed doing talks about my project. People responded well to my talks, and many times they would approach me after and give me very positive feedback about my performance. Same with the writing, people seem to find it clear, precise and enjoyable.

I always try to be clear and strive to not make things boring; in contrast, I have no patience for terrible speakers who manage to turn an interesting science project into a coma-inducing snorefest through ill-prepared and poorly delivered presentations. I make an effort to present complex topics in a clear and understandable way, be it in oral or written form. Looking at the state of things around us, it is clear that science communication to the general public is an aspect that is sorely needed. Thus, this is the direction in which I would like to steer my scientific career.  

Epilogue


People fear what they don’t understand, and sometimes when I read about how people think about us scientists like some sort of robot-like pragmatic and reclusive machines who are paid tons of money by secret government institutions in order to produce intimidating-sounding research, I can’t help but chuckle a bit.

If only they saw us, wearing jeans and band t-shirts, talking nonsense with each other to pass the time during a tedious experiment, or stalking the conference room to see if we can score some leftover coffee and cookies… Then the revelation will ensue: Oh.my.God… Scientists are just people, like us! Shocking, I know. But also true.

We are not out there to get you, we just have interests that most of the population decided to deem as nerdy. This is not to say that there is not manipulation, ulterior motives or conflicts of interest sometimes happening within the scientific environment: science is an activity conducted by humans, and as such is vulnerable to corruption.

However, despite all of its flaws and shortcomings, just by looking around us we can undoubtedly recognize that science works. Not only it allows us to understand the world, but also to use its natural laws and principles to our benefit.

Despite our differences in points of view, I think I can safely say that we–the big majority of people in this world–are all united in our intention towards making this world a better place and improve everyone’s quality of living. Let’s work towards an open dialogue, fruitful discussions and a better understanding.


Cheers, 

Irime  


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Image sources not stated above: Book covers from Amazon, Children's chemistry sets from here, Beakman's world pic found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

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I read this from start to finish and I want you to know I really enjoyed it. Wish you good luck with your dissertation and hopefully you will not have to hold a pipet again in your life :D

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@trumpman Thanks a lot! I really appreciate it, and I hope our wishes come true :-)

Great quality post @irime!

Like yourself I was a very curious and ingenious child, my parents still complain how I always was asking questions and was never satisfied with their explanation. It is with no surprise that I ended studying physiscs hoping to find more answers. Having finished my masters recently I just realized that there are really no answers just different questions. Although I do love science I also think I could never be happy doing research. My interests are just too broad, what I love about science is the big picture how all the pices fit together with such harmony, it is true art. But when you do research you just funnel your knowledge to focus on some tiny detail and lose the beauty of the big picture. I guess this is why the dream of a unified field theory is further away today than it was 100 years ago. (actually there are some interesting theories but they receive very little atention from mainstream scientists)

Interestingly since I left school I have been able to make more sense out of the world than when I was being flooded with information. =)

Thanks for the post, Cheers

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@bdmr Thank you for your very thoughtful comment,

Having finished my masters recently I just realized that there are really no answers just different questions. Although I do love science I also think I could never be happy doing research. My interests are just too broad, what I love about science is the big picture how all the pices fit together with such harmony, it is true art. But when you do research you just funnel your knowledge to focus on some tiny detail and lose the beauty of the big picture.

I think you just articulated a feeling that I had in my mind and hadn't quite manage to put into words myself. This is definitely another reason why I think experimental research (especially in the way it is usually conducted in academia nowadays) is not for me.

We need more scientists.

Beakman's World was also seminal in my scientific formation as a kid: it was a TV show that presented scientific concepts and experiments in an incredibly entertaining, funny and clear way, great for kids and adults alike!

Wow I had totally forgot about that show!

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You can still find some of the best episodes online!

This is really amazing, I havent really seen what it's like to be a scientist up until now, it's really great to have you here in the community. This is pretty cool especially the glowing mice, hilarious tho. Welcome to the Steemit community, i hope you have a great time here and achieve great.you can check out my page and follow back, I have some interesting write ups I'm sure you would like.welcome again looking forward to reading more of your posts soon

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@janrotas Thank you for your thoughtful and kind feedback! I appreciate it. I will take a look, for sure :-)

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your welcome. i hope you do

scientists like some sort of robot-like pragmatic and reclusive machines who are paid tons of money by secret government institutions in order to produce intimidating-sounding research,

People believe some weird stuff. Were this really true I would be doing something very wrong... wheres my tons of secret money???!!!??!

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Does that mean that you enjoyed the phrasing?

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Poop, forgot about this. I quoted it, then posted randomly on my phone. Then steemit wouldn't let me edit it. Then I forgot about it! I will fix it now!

Mostly I do not read long blogs because they are boring. But your blog as a scientist, made me read it to the end. A truly extraordinary story, style and way of writing.

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@dobartim Your comment makes me really happy! Sometimes I write so much that I start wondering if someone will actually read it, but if you did and also enjoyed it, it means a lot. Thanks!

It's great how your parents recognized you had an interest in science and kept putting books, toys and projects in front of you that fanned the flame.

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@karencarrens, Honestly, a lot of credit goes to them, they were always very patient and willing to help me grow and encouraged me to learn as much as I wanted to. Their own love for science just made it easier!

What a path! I am very glad that scientists, with PhD degree, move to the communication side. This is something that is missing in many many places and fields!

Nice to meet you by the way! :)

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@lemouth, it is certainly very needed. I think a lot of scientists are just happy working away in isolation from the general public, and that creates a gap that needs to be bridged. I enjoy the aspect of communicating my science so that's the path I will work towards now.

Thanks for your comment!

Every bit of the long read was worth it.

I started sending lots of applications to different labs but no one would take me (often they wouldn’t reply at all).

That's about where I am on my scientific journey. Big kudos to you for making it this far and cheers to greater heights!

It's nice to meet you and thanks for inspiring.

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@tolulupe.tolu Thank you for writing such an encouraging comment!

Regarding the applications, I found that it gets easier or harder depending on how specific you are. For example, I wanted to have a PhD position that was 1) In the field of cancer research or molecular genetics 2) In Berlin 3) In a high impact research group, so it was really difficult to find the position that I wanted (it took me about eight months!). However if you are more general about what you would like the odds of finding something are higher.

Also, like in many other fields, I found that contacts matter A LOT. If someone has met you before (doesn't need to be something fancy, maybe you just talked to them for a bit at a conference or after a talk or something), that already makes your chances much better against other candidates. I've also witnessed that people tend to pick people within their circle, for example, if the person you are sending your application to knows your advisor, it is very likely they will pick you, at least for an interview.

Keep trying! It requires some resilience to frustration, but keep looking and eventually something will come up. Cheers!

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Many thanks for your kind suggestions @irime

I guess I'm not as particular as you are at least not about country or region, however I will definitely prefer cancer research in a forward-looking group.

I will keep your suggestions in mind as I continue my search. I won't give up. Thank you so much.

You are a wonderful inspiration for young people. Great story!! Upvoted resteemed and followed you @irime. I felt very similar in the difference between a Bachelor's Degree and my Master's Degree. A lot of that is probably the dedication and maturity of the other students. I did love my program in Theater for my BFA, but I was really challenged in my MA in Educational Psychology. That was all a long time ago now. LOL. Nice to meet you.

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@sallykwitt Thank you so much for your very kind comment!

I agree that the change in academic atmosphere was also due to maturity of the students. While in university a lot of people were on party mode, during master's degree it was clear that they all had the goal of learning and performing as best as they could.

Thank you for stopping, cheers! :-)

Hola @irime, solo quería decirte que me alegra muchísimo ver una persona como tú en Steemit. A mí, simplemente me encanta todo lo que tu representas : eres bella, inteligente, joven, relajada y chistosa. Pero, lo que me encanta más aún es que eres latina (como yo - soy brasileña) y llegas aquí compartiendo tu bellísimo trabajo y trayectoria. Te deseo mucho, mucho más suceso por aquí y en todos tus proyectos!
Besitos :)

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@abigail-dantes Pero qué comentario tan maravilloso, me has hecho la mañana. Me da gusto ver que haya personas tan positivas y constructivas como tú aquí en Steemit, y aún mejor siendo que también eres latina (tu español es perfecto, yo puedo leer portugués pero de escribirlo, nada).

Le eché un vistazo a tu perfil de Steemit y encontré varios artículos interesantes así que ahora te sigo. Un abrazo para ti y espero que sigamos en contacto por este medio. Saludos! :-)

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Que bien que puedes leer portugués! Pois assim vou escrever :)
Que alegria saber que você está seguindo meu blog! Muito obrigada :)
Sim, com certeza nos manteremos em contato!
Até logo e muitos beijinhos..

thank you for your insightful article. although my PhD was not as demanding, i can identify with nearly all the things you describe. a truly honest reflection of life as a scientist. i am looking forward to more posts from you (following) and hope you will find some solace in the work from others too. Best wishes, E.

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@huitemae, I think the PhD experience is pretty universal, just some people are luckier than others when it comes to functional or productive projects. Glad to find more science people here in Steemit to share our experiences with! :-)

it is nice to be able to read this type of publications the area of science is very extensive and beautiful and I have always said that people should go for what they like and what they are passionate about, because it is the only way you can succeed in doing things good because you love your job

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@joha09sohi, I don't think is the only way to succeed, but it is definitely the most sustainable in the long run, and loving what you do improves your well being and attitude towards life in an incredible way.

Thank you for your comment!

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I agree with what you say, but I think if you work on what you like, everything is simpler and you do everything with love with passion.

Greetings friend @irime

Much respect from me. I love science, but have not studied it. I just read about the science research, which is very intriguing to me. Well done on your qualifications. I wish I had done so much with my life.

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@damagecontrol It is a very good thing that you have an interest and curiosity for science, it will help you make better informed decisions for your life, and it's also rewarding to learn new amazing things. Thanks for commenting!

Very motivating story!
The perfect example of what hard work can produce. Good luck for your future projects, hoping to hear more from you :)

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@fedesox Thank you for the good wishes! Yes, surely you will hear more from me soon ;-) Cheers!

Great post @irime :) I too studied science and can really appreciate your words. Upvoted and keep on being great!

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@myespressoroad, I am glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for the upvote and the encouraging words!

:) scientists are just people :)

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Haha, a little overlooked fact, but still very relevant!

Hearing about your life and passion was wonderful. Thank you for sharing it.

Science without integrity is just another religion. A means of controlling people by dividing them and extracting obedience through faith. People need to start to comprehend the scale of corruption in 'science' today. The effect of that corruption is all around....it is pervasive and ghastly. The human and environmental cost is horrendous and growing. The inability to see or acknowledge that fact, especially by those in lofty, relative comfort, who perhaps should know better, is sorrowful.

You seem like a nice person, but this...

"However, despite all of its flaws and shortcomings, just by looking around us we can undoubtedly recognize that science works. Not only it allows us to understand the world, but also to use its natural laws and principles to our benefit."

....is monumentally naive and hollow. To who's benefit? I'm sorry, I don't see this grand lifting of people out of debt slavery, famine, illness and other hardships. I see science being wielded by the biggest companies in the world to do the opposite....to undermine, hollow out, to control and dispose of people.

Has science produced useful knowledge and innovation? Yes, of course. But what good is that in the modern world where the corruption and abuses are now on such a massive level that they threaten the health, lives and very survival of so many?

Always the science is manipulated to enable or justify or hide....anything. Literally anything goes. The hubris, arrogance and lack of empathy is diabolical. What should any of us expect from an obviously psychopathic system?

"Science" is a useless term now with no true meaning. That is what tyrannies do, they subvert the meaning of words and attempt to stamp out nuance.

True science starts with a hypothesis that can be tested against a control. Is about learning through imagination and observation. Being able to replicate observable behaviour. Using appropriate methods, collecting data with precision and accurately representing all the data collected. Having the intelligence and analytical skills to understand the results. Requires precise documentation and conclusions.

Even the best scientists, with the best intentions and perfect integrity will have difficulty producing true science.....especially in challenging areas....because it is extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming.

When you have all the money and political influence you need and a psychopathic desire to grow, make more money, control more of your market, there is a mind-boggling array of methods and strategies at your disposal for corrupting "science."

Company in-house science. Total control.
Political lobbying. Total control.
The centralised research publishing system. Total control.
The research grant funding system for universities and the wider market. Total control.

They say it's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

A significant proportion of science is corrupt. This begs the question, which science can you trust? If you are not doing it for yourself, the only logical response would be none of it. This position is untenable which is why it is having a devastating effect on our societies.

The only way to mend this terrible tragedy is for science to become true science once more. That can only be accomplished through transparency and accountability. Industry funded science should be considered junk unless it is completely transparent and accountable.

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@benjojo, I get where you are coming from, but your view is overly pessimistic. It's like you are taking all the progress and life enhancing, beneficial knowledge and technology that science has made possible (and keeps producing until this day) and funneling it all through the narrow view of corruption and manipulation to make it seem like it's useless.

Always the science is manipulated to enable or justify or hide....anything. Literally anything goes. The hubris, arrogance and lack of empathy is diabolical. What should any of us expect from an obviously psychopathic system?

"Science" is a useless term now with no true meaning. That is what tyrannies do, they subvert the meaning of words and attempt to stamp out nuance.

Once more, this is just looking at Science from the most pessimistic and fatalist view possible, like it somehow ceased to create useful advances just because some people in positions of power might be able to introduce bias in some cases.

True science starts with a hypothesis that can be tested against a control. Is about learning through imagination and observation. Being able to replicate observable behaviour. Using appropriate methods, collecting data with precision and accurately representing all the data collected. Having the intelligence and analytical skills to understand the results. Requires precise documentation and conclusions.

Even the best scientists, with the best intentions and perfect integrity will have difficulty producing true science.....especially in challenging areas....because it is extremely difficult, expensive and time-consuming.

Completely agree with you, it is certainly very hard, and if you want to be both rigorous and transparent, your life as a researcher will not be an easy one. I have myself experienced the pressure that results from producing data that is not what your boss wanted to see, and having to find ways to work around it because you can't just go and report something untrue. But that's the thing, many of us still take the time and mental power to realize what exactly the data is telling you. Sometimes, even if it's not what you expected, if you look closer, you can find other things that are there and that you would not be able to see if you stayed fixed in your original hypothesis.

A significant proportion of science is corrupt. This begs the question, which science can you trust? If you are not doing it for yourself, the only logical response would be none of it. This position is untenable which is why it is having a devastating effect on our societies.

I don't know if there is sufficient evidence (or even, a way to assess the situation in an accurate way) to assert that so firmly. Also, judging by your objections I am getting the feeling that when stating things like this, you are thinking more about fields like medicine and health and calling them just "science", but science is not only that. Also mathematics, physics, chemistry, all of which keep producing huge advances that also improve our lives (communications, electronics, transportation, even the computers and the blockchain that we are currently using to write and share our rants).

Sure, while a lot of the money that funds research comes from the population in general (tax money), a very big proportion of high-impact research is funded by private companies, and therefore the very real possibility of them introducing bias in the results through their patronage is there.

Still, this doesn't mean that we should immediately discard and distrust results obtained by research funded with private company money. Like you pointed out, high impact, powerful and meaningful research is usually very expensive to carry out, so the money has to come from somewhere. However, that is one of the things that makes Science so beautiful: it is self-correcting. False and manipulated results get exposed when other scientists find that it is not possible to replicate them; it might not happen immediately, but it will eventually happen. And the great thing is that this self-correcting mechanism is particularly stringent at higher levels: the more relevant and sought after the result produced is, the more heavily scrutinized it will be.

This has happened many times, just a couple of years ago there was a scandal about a Japanese group from RIKEN institute that claimed to be able to produce stem cells with a ridiculously simple technique. People were marveled at first, but within the course of a few weeks it was uncovered as a case of scientific fraud when several groups working independently found that the results reported were not reproducible.

You don't have to perform the experiments yourself to trust them, but it helps to have a bit of critical thinking here. For example, by being careful to scrutinize studies that are funded by a company that obviously has an interest in the results obtained: are the experiments well designed? are the conclusions supported by the data they produced? how do this results hold up compared to work produced by other independent research groups? What is the opinion of other experts on the topic about this particular study?

I am aware that not everyone has the tools to analyse a scientific article in such a way, so in this case we need more people that could help and bridge this gap between technical language and accurate information that is understandable by the general public. I definitely think that a big part of the reason why people are often so disenchanted with scientific advances is because of the distorted and sensationalist way in which the regular press tends to report them. But maybe that's a topic for another post.

Thanks for your input, @benjojo, and for participating in this discussion!

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I really appreciate the time you've taken to respond and the balanced view you've put forward. I think you are correct, in terms of the volume of all learning and advancement in every area of science, the greater proportion is likely not being compromised by corruption. That might be because there is no need or value in doing so. However, when technological advancement offers some promise of profit or power, in my experience, any limitations we place on ourselves are swiftly countered. Whatever the risk, moral or otherwise, they are marginalised with ease. I'll give you some examples;

Nuclear fission
Weather manipulation
Weapons
GMO's
Vaccines
Industrial chemicals
Etc

The proverbial cat is always let out of the bag with assertions of absolute necessity or empty platitudes. Sadly, there is never any true accountability when the risks prove all too real and the consequences too. How does that realate to the science? The science is used to support, hide, justify, manipulate and generally perpetuate the pursuit and maintenance of power.

Take GMO's which have today been unleashed into the wild with absolutely no knowledge of what the long term effects will be. That is simply not science and yet, it goes ahead anyway....supported by "science" and rendering all life on Earth, the victims of the pretense of science.

All science is not bad and all scientists are not corrupt, but enough are around the big issues that do cause and have the potential to cause unimaginable harm.

When bogus science results in the death or maiming of a child, that is a horrific tragedy every single time.....that is happening all the time.

I think you understand my point and perhaps it is a pessimistic. I prefer to think of it as realistic. If the word science means anything, it has to mean the same thing every time, represent the same standard. Sadly, that is clearly very far from the case in areas that affect all of us.

Anyway, it's great to chat with you. Thanks again for your time and the benefit of your optimism ;)

Wow!!!! This make me recall I also got a science kit when I was like grade 6, which have copper(II) sulphate to grow some blue crystals XDD

So, currently I am in the process of finishing my dissertation so I can finally start the graduation process to obtain my degree – and become Dr. Irime (yaaaaaaay!)
Haha congratulations!! I am looking forward to this day too XDDD
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@mcw Glad I stirred some nice memories in your mind! I also remember one of my kits had one of those flame experiments to observe the different colors emited by certain elements, if I recall correctly it was: green/blue for copper, yellow for sodium, pink for potassium and red for strontium. Sometimes I wonder how safe these kits actually were! xD

Amazing story @irime ! you were born scientist :-) People like you who have passion in doing something since early childhood are the greatest in this what they do. And that's who you are. You are the master of your own hobby and moreover you are fulfilling your destiny. Congratulations!

awesome story you got a great work, great blog @irime

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Thank you! I appreciate it, @rudel :-)

Long but highly inspirational, parents have forgotten the need to educate their children and be a source of inspiration to them. Nice story,will be humbled and excited if you follow me. Thanks

Wow! What an incredible story. You seem like a very dedicated and hard-working person.
Well done to your family for supporting you from the start, I think that's very important!

Nice to meet you, @irime! Welcome to the Steemit Community, wish you good luck and a good start, ive send you a small tip and followed you, hope you have an amazing day! :)

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@vlone99 Thanks! Have a good day too...

Knowledge is Power

Very nice article

upvoted @ireme

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Thanks! :-)

Welcome to the community! upvoted and followed.

Cheers, @rebele93

Marry me! =)

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@kuku12170 Your profile picture is very fitting for this comment :-)

i had fun reading about your pursuit of science and i can relate most of it.
i hope you have a successful career.

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@amokh09 Thank you so much, best luck for you as well!

Great thinking

reading stories like this in the morning makes my day. super awesome story. thanks for sharing!

great story, and now following you

Nice to meet you dear freind, welcome to steemit, hope you are comfortable here,This is a new home for lovers
of bloggers and the best platform today,Very good intro,I like that,No forget to Visit my profile For Info and tricks about cyrptotrading.

Using irrelevant tags, especially popular tags, makes it hard to find good and relevant content.
Please try to use only relevant tags when posting!

#introduceyourself

The “introduceyourself” tag is for creating a post that tells us about you. Users are encouraged to use this tag exclusively for that, and not to reuse it.

Blatant misuse of tags is spam. Spam is discouraged by the community and may result in action from the cheetah bot.

More Info: Abuse Guide - 2017.

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The “introduceyourself” tag is for creating a post that tells us about you. Users are encouraged to use this tag exclusively for that, and not to reuse it.

This was the reason why I used the tag, since this is a post introducing my personal background relevant for my Steemit posts, to allow people (especially new followers) to get to know more about myself. I have seen other well established users writing "re-introductions" after they have acquired a significantly bigger number of new followers, so I thought it was allowed to do something like that (this is only the second time I use this tag). However, if it is strictly not allowed to use it more than once, then I certainly won't do it again.

Thanks for the heads up!

Welcome to Steemit! This was a great post. Thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you future work! I think you might like my work as well so feel free to take a look sometime.

Welcome to Steemet
follow me @lomidze

really loved to read till the end

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@abidhussain I am very happy that so many people enjoyed the read! Thanks.

Hey! Welcome to Steemit! I'll be watching out for your posts from now on! All the best!!

Very interesting article. Welcome to steem it Irime!

For half a second I was thinking the picture at the top was a christmas tree! My mistake.

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@braxton101, I can see what you mean! :-)

I Saw one of those mini science kits on a show we have here about the dangers of each era. They said a few people set houses on fire ! 🔥 lol

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@ultravioletmag Looking back I sometimes wonder just how safe these kits were... now you have given me an answer!

Finding out, understanding the world and everything around us is one thing. It appears though that some scientists don't know when to stop. Like in Jurrassic park sometimes instead of asking if we could do something we ask the question should we?

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Here is where the famous quote comes into play: "With great power, comes great responsability".

Congratulations @irime, this post is the second most rewarded post (based on pending payouts) in the last 12 hours written by a Superuser account holder (accounts that hold between 1 and 10 Mega Vests). The total number of posts by Superuser account holders during this period was 855 and the total pending payments to posts in this category was $6407.14. To see the full list of highest paid posts across all accounts categories, click here.

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Knowledge is power. Excellent @irime
Following and resteemed with upvote

Hello and welcome to Steemit! This is a great expanding community very glad you decided to join! Fallow my channel if you wish @darius1993

Great, you're excellent. I'd like to have that capability.

You have inspired me to write a greater post. You are a good writer indeed. Science and technology is a good course to study in school.

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@mecherine Thank you for such nice feedback, keep Steeming on!

I like it

I remember playing with the rector sets, and those little child's lab science learning kits in the 90's. Those were fun, and I learned a lot from them :)

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@twunders The best part is that you learned without actually feeling like you were studying or working hard for it, that was the magic of those things!

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Right, no tests and grades, or following the rules within reason lol :)

Science rocks!

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It does!

Hello, @Irime, Let me welcome you to Steemit. Hope you gonna have fun with our community. Feel free to follow me @rightuppercorner Have a great time @rightuppercorner

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Hi @rightuppercorner, am new here and seriously searching for someone to guild me through, pls kindly follow me@ekoh.samuel and I will do the same.