Q: What’s the most common word in science?
I always feel that being a scientist means that it’s easier to have enthusiasm for something (or maybe that’s just me). See that bumble bee collecting nectar? Whoa, it’s amazing how it has such a long tongue that it can reach all the way into the flower. See that termite soldier guarding its nest? Whoa, it’s like a completely different species from the other termites.
In most cases, “whoa” means “it’s evolution”. Bumble bee tongues and termite soldier heads have evolved to work the way they do. Just like dog noses and baby brains. Being a father of two small children, I see evolution in action every day, because I certainly did not teach my son to hear and to smell. And I had very little input into his ability to sit up by himself one day. Evolution is the one thing that brings all organisms of the world together. Whoa!
Q: What’s the most common activity in science?
A: Asking questions.
Everyone is a scientist to some degree, only some people get paid for it. Seriously, the scientific method is not some obscure thing reserved for scientists. Curiosity and interpretations of our observations belong to everyone. We all explore, question and find answers, which are only good enough until we find better ones. This is what I do as a scientist.
Being a scientist also means I’m a storyteller. I talk about science and nature and bumble bees and babies. I do this by presenting complicated figures at conferences, and by drawing cartoons for fun. I illustrate and photograph and more than anything else, I write. I am probably not much different from the millions of other scientists in the world. What sets me apart from some of them is that I have a website, so thanks for stopping by.