COVID-19 has put everyone in a front row seat to science
Many people will not go to amusement parks this summer. They will miss having cotton candy and popcorn. They will miss watching parades and fireworks. And, they will miss waiting in line for their favorite ride, watching as others scream with delight, or fear, as they race by; their own anticipation growing as they get closer to the front of the line. They will miss all of this because a new virus — something we can’t see with the naked eye — is lurking, threatening, and menacing. Metaphorically, this virus has placed all of us in the front seat of the highest, and longest, roller coaster of all — that of scientific discovery.
How society ended up on the roller coaster
While daily life is filled with activities and decisions seeped in scientific discovery, most don’t think about it that way. The maps that show our weather on the morning news, the pot that brews our coffee after being programmed the night before, and the vehicle we take to work are all the result of knowledge gained through scientific discovery. But, when many people think about science, they remember high school science classes rather than the process of science that leads to maps, programmable coffee pots and transportation.
When SARS-CoV-2 evolved as a new virus, the process of scientific discovery started anew. But, when the virus proved to be a danger to human life, very quickly, and by necessity, everyone became interested in this virus. Going to the internet to find answers to questions about COVID-19 was not an option. How to treat it? No. How to avoid it? Nope. How does it spread? Uh-uh. Scientific discovery was just getting started, and this, is why society is now strapped into the front seat of a roller coaster. It is why understanding how science evolves is critical. It is why thinking like a scientist can help.
Tips, resources, and more details about the roller coaster called science
Read the article to find tips and resources for navigating the ups and downs as well as to see how science works and the roles of the media, internet, and even your social networks in what you hear about scientific discoveries.