15 April 2010

Genius is overrated

I sometimes think that one of the biggest problems of engaging people in science, either as a career or as an audience, is the notion that science is practiced by geniuses.

Not very many people think of themselves as geniuses, so they make themselves believe up front that they won’t be able to do it ot understand it.

The arts face a very similar problem. There’s this notion out there that it’s about creativity, and waiting for the muse, when often the reality is that 90% of the job is just showing up and doing the work.

Every cool science story that you read here, there, or elsewhere almost always has an extraordinary amount of grunt work behind it. I wish that element of science got a little more acknowledgement, though I’m not sure of the best way to do that.

Photo by Lamont Cranston on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

BiotechMom said...

while you are right to a certain degree, science does require a certain temperament mainly curiosity, ability to think and tenacity. Learning from failures as much as learning from success. However, one does not need be a genius and if we cultivate this habit from childhood I see no reason why more kids cannot go in science.