What is Science and why do We Do It?

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  • Protist, Vol. 159, 3, January 2008http://www.elsevier.de/protisPublished online date 30 November 2007

    EDITORS CHOICE

    What is Science and why do We Do It?

    Every once in a while I try to step back from theongoing little emergencies and exigencies of lab

    govern the behavior of matter at all levels, how ouruniverse evolved and even how mathematicaltruths exist? Any why does Society pay us and(sometimes even respect us) to try to learn these

    self-gratifying and pragmatically useful for futurebehavior but that is hardly the real reason to do

    frameworks and new facts are then predicted.This sense of wonder must be tempered by therealization that the theories almost certainly willchange and the facts reinterpreted, but for that

    ARTICLE IN PRESS& 2007 Elsevdoi:10.1016/jier GmbH. All rights reserved.especially for biomedical research. Clearly humanbeings desire long healthy, happy lives and humansocieties want to perpetrate themselves and thisknowledge may aid in achieving these desires.The first question however is difficult and has noeasy answers or perhaps any answers at all. Imyself feel that knowledge and understanding ofthe world around us has an inherent worth beyondthat of the welfare and happiness of individualhumans and groups of humans, although it indeedmay prove incredibly important for the verysurvival of our species, without which knowledgein any sense is meaningless. Knowledge is also.protis.2007.10.002subsumed. It may sound presumptuous, but thatis why I do Science.

    Larry SimpsonMicrobiology, Immunology and Molecular

    Genetics, David Geffen School of Medicineat UCLA, 6780 MacDonald Building,Los Angeles, CA 90095 1489, USA

    fax: +1 2133412271e-mail larrys3255@gmail.comthings? The second question is easier to answer, small period of ones life the wonder and beauty ofit all glistens and all striving and daily routines areresearch and think about the meaning of it all. Whyis it at all important to learn exactly how abiological phenomenon occurs and has evolved,how molecules interact, what are the rules that

    research. But what is this inherent worth ofknowledge? I equate it with the sense of wonderand beauty that one feels when one finally under-stands how recalcitrant facts fit into conceptual

    What is Science and why do We Do It?