The Art of the Scientific Metaphor

Ned Shaw It is not too much to say that science and the technologies that derive from it have altered the very nature of human society. It is surprising, then, if science is all that important in human culture, that people would seem indifferent about its nature. Considerably more attention is paid to how movies are made, novels are written, or great paintings are born than to how scientists make new knowledge. Given its centrality in modern life, shouldn't people be more interested in how sci

Theodore Brown
Nov 2, 2003
Ned Shaw

It is not too much to say that science and the technologies that derive from it have altered the very nature of human society. It is surprising, then, if science is all that important in human culture, that people would seem indifferent about its nature. Considerably more attention is paid to how movies are made, novels are written, or great paintings are born than to how scientists make new knowledge. Given its centrality in modern life, shouldn't people be more interested in how science really works as a creative enterprise?

Part of the problem is that scientist and nonscientist alike tend to believe that the thought processes involved in doing science are unique and abstruse. But is this really the case? I began to think about these matters several years ago when I directed the Beckman Institute, a large interdisciplinary research center at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign....