Monday, July 30, 2012

Chemistry: The Most Recognizable Science

OK, I take back everything that I said before. Chemistry has to be a "true" science because it is the only science that is instantly recognizable *as* science. Let's face it, most academic mathematicians and physicists can be mistaken for members of the custodial staff while biologists and geologists can be mistaken as hippie survivalists. If you want to convey the image of science with limited artistic time chemistry is where you go. For example in today's episode of the webcomic Bug this panel shows up:


Lab coats, safety glasses, test tubes, e-flasks and phenanthrene are all most definitely icons of chemistry that are shorthand to popular culture for "Science". So there you have it, chemistry is not a science because it uniquely addresses a fundamental question of existence ... it is a science because our culture needs us. Huh.

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For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.