Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Misconception

Science is not something that exists without creativity and imagination.  The very creation science as we know it could not have happened without the innovative and imaginative ideas of scientists like Einstein, Edison, and Planck.  Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Edison said “To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk,” Planck said “The scientist needs an artistically creative imagination.” Three great scientists all having ideals with a common theme, imagination. Science is more than just following steps and taking down data, it is asking questions and coming up with creative ways to try and answer them. When a scientist poses a question there's not cheat sheet or paint by number for the procedure, a scientist has to come up with every aspect of the experiment themselves. A scientist may consult others work in order to make their own procedure better, much as many artists use each other's techniques in their own work, but none the less creating a procedure requires original ideas and independent thinking. The misconception that science requires no creativity or imagination is simply completely and utterly wrong.

Many argue that science is too procedural,by the book, and and can be too easily replicated, which from the experience of anyone who has tried to replicate an experiment isn't always true. While science is intended to be retested and experiments be re-preformed by other scientists, it does not take away from the hard work and creative thinking that has to go into engineering the original experiment, or changing the experiment to prove or disprove something within the experiment or an application of it. These people may also ask how much creativity really goes into writing down some steps, but with that question they failed to realize the sheer amount of work and ingenuity that is behind many of the seemingly simple science procedures. Not only do scientists have to come up with a question to ask, but they also have to come up with a testable way of answering it. Everything from what equipment they will use to answer their question to how to show their findings to others, takes creativity and imagination.

Everyone thinks in a different way, person to person, scientist to scientist, they way one may test something maybe completely different than the way another may test the same thing. Two scientists testing the same thing in different ways may seem repetitive and unnecessary, however, many scientific breakthroughs and discoveries where stumbled upon while looking for other things, who knows, due to one scientists imaginative way of testing something they make find a new method to treat cancer, or even better a way to cure it. Einstein said “Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” It is in this “everywhere” that the secretes of science lay, waiting to be discovered by one brave creative scientist who may stumble upon it one day.

Without creativity and imagination in science, Edison would have never perfected the light bulb, Henry Ford would never have invented the car, the Wright brothers would have never invented the first airplane, take a look around, everything we hold dear in our homes all started with one person's creative idea, and was the result of their imaginative way of making their idea a reality. Theories that are taught in schools around the world today once started off as just an idea, and only grew into what they are today because of the imagination and creativity of the scientist that got them there. Creative scientific theories are seen everywhere in science, from Atomic theory, to Quantum Mechanics, to one of the most prominent theories of biology, Evolution.

Before Charles Darwin everyone believed that everything in the world existed in the same form it always had, but when Darwin researched the Galapagos finches he had an idea. That idea triggered Darwin's imagination into coming up with an explanation to why he say similarities between the different species of finches on the island. The idea conjured up in Darwin's mind is what allowed him to look for evidence to support his idea, and eventually developed his theory of Evolution in The Origin of the Species. If scientists were not creative Darwin may have just brushed the idea of multiple species deriving from one species off because there wasn’t a twenty step procedure on how to test it. Clearly however, Darwin did not do that, he thought and collected evidence, and imagined a situation that made all of his thoughts and findings make sense. When someone who believes that science requires no creativity or imagination can explain how to come up with an original theory without using creativity or imagination, then their argument may have some merit.

Those who do not believe science requires no imagination or creativity have never worked in a scientific environment, or tried to design their own procedure. These people need to be exposed to the process of creating a science fair experiment, or required to write a hypothesis in order to understand that original thinking is everywhere in science, and is the heart of scientific breakthroughs.
Works Cited
"Charles Darwin and Creative Thinking." Michalko: Charles Darwin and Creative Thinking / Creativity-Portal.com. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
"Max Planck Quotes (Author of Eight Lectures on Theoretical Physics)." Max Planck Quotes (Author of Eight Lectures on Theoretical Physics). Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
"National Endowment for the Arts." What Makes a Scientist a Creative Scientist? | NEA. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
"Thomas A. Edison Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
"The Biology of Imagination." The Biology of Imagination. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Bionic Leaf

This new invention of the bionic leaf, is one of the many way scientists from different fields are coming together to achieve a universal goal. In this case, biologists and technologists are coming together to not only try to make a cleaner alternative fuel to oil and oil products, more readily available, but also trying to clean up the earths air while doing it. This new bionic leaf is using solar energy to split oxygen and hydrogen from water, and turning it into energy, creating an artificial photosynthesis.
This new and improved photosynthesis is ten times fast than traditional photosynthesis, and instead of the process creation oxygen, it creates fuel. The bionic leaf creates alcohol fuels which can be burned and turned into energy. The interesting this about this invention is that it could potentially bring power to places of the world that do not have it. Considering all the leaf requires is sunlight to funtion, the leaf could be brought to remote areas and power could be established. While a power plant where the alcohol products could be turned into energy would require building, it would create jobs and be more cost effective then trying to either ship oil products to remote locations, or trying to run power lines from the closest powered town out to where people are living with out power.
According to Harvard University, where this product was founded, the next step for the bionic leaf is make building it most cost effective in order to make it readily available as a power source across the world.
If this technology does become attainable by the average person it could not only solve our constant battle of finding oil, but take some of the Co2, causing our climate change, out of the air, while providing a power source that would not then harm the environment more. If more studies show that this a reliable, healthier, and inexpensive fuel source, I think it could give big oil companies a run for their money.


Other Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160602151837.htm

Sunday, August 21, 2016

CRISPR Trials

Cancer is one of the leading killers of the human race. Despite billions of dollars and countless hours of the best and brightest scientists lives are spent trying to cure this wretched disease, no method has yet proved 100% successful. They only methods we have come up with to combat this disease is to either try and hack out the tumors or to poison the person to the point where not only cancer cells die, but also healthy ones; and even them some cases are labeled too far gone. However with new technology comes new hope.
Chinese scientists are now about to start clinical trials to combat metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, with their new gene altering technique. The idea of extracting cells from a person, genetically altering them and then putting them back into a person is commonly referred to as gene therapy and is experimental no matter what the treatment is used for. This gene therapy involves altering T-cells with CRISPR-Cas 9 technology and resultingly changing the gene to only attack cancerous cells, protecting the healthy ones. Like any treatment their are risks, and they are even higher with this treatment being experimental, the gene alteration could potentially make the situation worse and the t-calls could begin to attack all cells, even healthy ones. However, the scientist on this project will be monitoring patients closely and do not believe that this will happen. Risky or not this treatment could be one of the biggest scientific break through's of the modern day. This treatment not only gives new hope for those who have not seen success in chemotherapy or radiation, but also for a potential new and improved cancer treatment. One that is not as harsh on the body. If this trail is successful it may also open a door for other people to study other gene editing techniques and cure other genetic diseases.  
I wonder if, as gene editing technology progresses, we will be able cure genetic disorders like down syndrome, or cystic fibrosis. I also wonder if with how early some of theses genetic disorders are detected, if a child could be cured of them while they are still in utero. I hope that this study succeeds in helping their patients become cancer free, and that their success will open up the doors for many scientists using gene editing to cure other conditions.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

In the Heat of the Moment Cross Breeding

Climate Change is one of the most talked about and widespread issues of the world, it has been the center of everything from heated political debates, to now having an entire department at NASA dedicated to monitoring it. We  know that Climate Change is detrimental to environments that many animals call home, and they are struggling to survive, what we don't know is just how many species will be effected and what we are going to do to stop it.

The article: Hybrid Animals like 'Grolar Bears' not Expected to be a Common Consequence of Climate Change, brings up many intriguing question and thoughts related to the subject of Climate Change, and specifically its effects on animal migration and cross breeding. According to the article, up until this point, some scientist have believed that Climate Change, and its effect on animals environments will force certain species to migrate to new locations. These new locations maybe inhabited by close relatives of the species and not only cause a competition for food sources, but may also lead to cross breading. This phenomenon is most closely observed with the 'Grolar Bear', a cross breed of a Grizzly Bear and a Polar Bear. This type of cross breading however, is not predicted to be a common occurrence according to a recent study in Nature Climate Change, which is the main focus of the article. The study uses computer generated predictions of what the Earth will look like in 2070 and 2100 to compare the predicted climate to species of birds, mammals, and amphibians, and where they would have to migrate to.

This makes me wonder how many species would be able to simply relocate, and what other species would cease to exist. If Polar Bears are already moving far enough south to cross breed with Grizzly Bears, how long are they going to be able to live as climate continues to change, and what other species are predicted to be effected? No computer model can answer these types questions for certain as they are only predictions, but these models can show that cross breading will not be as common as previously predicted. The study shows only 6.4% of species will even come in close enough contact with a similar species to potentially cross breed.

This article also makes me wonder if there is anything that strengthens or weakens a cross bread animal when compared to a pure bread animal. We have been cross breeding dogs for quite sometime now and according to The Institute of Canine Biology, the frequency  42% of genetic disorders in dogs were more prevalent in pure bred dogs than in cross bread dogs, 4% of genetic disorders were found more presently in cross bread dogs, and 54% of genetic disorders were found about equally in cross bread dogs and pure bread dogs. This is believed to be cause be the limited gene pool pure bread dogs are exposed to. I wonder if similar results would be found against the Polar Bear and the 'Grolar Bear', or the Grizzly Bear and the 'Grolar Bear'.

While Climate Change is not predicted to bring about very many new breads of animals, it will be interesting to see what animals do decide to cross bread, and what types of traits the new bread inherits from each of it's parents.