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Why is science so hard?
Question Date: 2018-05-16
Answer 1:

Some people think science is hard because they think of science as memorizing a lot of words or knowing a lot of facts. It would be impossible for any person to know all of scientific knowledge or all of the science words. But that’s like thinking reading is hard because you can never read every book, or thinking that sports are hard because you can’t win at every sport, or music is hard because you’ll never know every song. You can see where I’m going here.

What’s worse is that some people think they only certain kinds of people can do science. That’s just not true. Anyone can do science. It just means following a few simple rules. The most important rule is that you have to design fair experiments. For example, say you wanted to find out which gum kept its flavor the longest. You would need the test to be fair. You couldn’t use different sizes of gum or have some people drink water in the middle of the test and other people not drink water. You couldn’t have people always chew brand X first and brand Z last. This is called controlling the variables. You want the conditions the same for everything except for the one thing you’re trying to test. The brand of gum is the independent variable we’re testing. We want to hold all the other independent variables (gum size, drinking water, order, etc.) the same.

People may chew or taste gum differently, so is also important to have a bunch of different people chewing the gum. This is called replication.

We usually want to measure the dependent variable (how long the flavor lasts) in some way that has a number, like minutes when people can still taste the gum. This is a little subjective, meaning that people can have different experiences chewing the same gum, so it’s important that people not know which brand they are chewing. This is called a blind test. It is a way to keep our own opinions from influencing the results. It helps make the test fair.

Then we would analyze the data. For example, we could take the average number of minutes before people said the flavor was gone for each type of gum and compare the data. We could also look at variation. For example, did some people think brand X lasted 1 minute and other people thought 10 minutes, or were all the answers right around 4 minutes?

If you did a study like that, you would be doing science. It’s not that hard. You do have some puzzles to solve sometimes in making things fair or trying to figure out a pattern, or explaining the pattern, but solving puzzles can be fun. You may have noticed me slipping in vocabulary words, but if you read my answer again, you can see that you’d understand it even if you took out all the vocabulary words. If we use them effectively, they just save us time. I can say, “It was a blind test” faster than I could say, “We labelled the gum brands as X, Y, and Z. and the testers didn’t know which was which.

Knowing more science can help you ask more interesting questions, just like knowing a person better can lead to more interesting conversations. For example, chewing gum is mostly synthetic now, but the first gum was made from sap from the chicle trees of places in Central America and South America. You could study whether people can tell the difference between gum made from natural chicle and synthetic gum. You could test whether chicle trees make more sap when they are attacked by insects. No one will ever answer all the possible questions about chicle trees.

Some things can not be studied with science. Let’s say you wanted to find out what flavor is the best. “Best” is a subjective idea, meaning that anyone can have a different opinion based on the same observations. We could find out which flavor is most popular using science, but that’s a different question. Science can’t tell you whether it’s morally right or wrong to spit gum on to the sidewalk. We could find out how many people think it’s right or wrong, but that’s a different question. You also can’t answer questions about the supernatural using science. For example You can study a lot about the chicle trees using science, but you can’t test whether the trees have souls, or are protected by gods of the forest, or were created by one God. Science is only useful in answering questions about things that follow natural laws. I’ll be you can think of a question right now and figure out how to answer it. Then you’d be doing science. Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

If you mean "why is a scientist's work so difficult?", the answer is because we are trying to learn things that no human has ever known before. This requires us to think creatively, do figure out ways to learn things that haven't been used before (if they had, then they would be known already). There have been a lot of people who have tried to create knowledge before us, and we have to take the next step.

If you mean "why is learning scientific knowledge in school so difficult?", then there are two reasons: first, in science, there is one right answer - all other answers are at least partially wrong. You can't wiggle your way out of a question. The second reason is that this right answer is not something that you can simply calculate or derive the way you can with a math problem: you have to learn what exists in nature, which isn't always like what we normally experience.

Answer 3:

Science is hard because we ask hard questions. If we only asked easy questions, we would never learn anything, and the universe would seem extremely dull!

Answer 4:

Science is how humans try to understand nature. Although nature is beautiful, it is too complex for us to understand. Science tackles this complexity by taking nature apart into little pieces and understanding these little pieces one by one by asking questions. Each question must be answered using the scientific method: posing hypotheses and doing experiments to test these hypotheses. The challenge is that the scientific method is not natural for humans.

When scientists make a hypothesis, they never try to prove it. Following the scientific method, they must try to disprove the hypothesis by doing many experiments. A theory is only accepted when countless experiments fail to disprove it. As you can see, there is so much work to do to answer just one question. In short, science is hard because we need to learn how to do it properly and it requires a lot of work to do it right.

Answer 5:

There are many reasons science can be difficult to study. Science is a very large field and continues to get larger, so just its sheer size can make it hard. To study any science topic, you need a lot of skills and -background knowledge, and these skills and knowledge usually take years to build up.

After you decide what you want to study out of the vast field of science - chemistry, biology, physics, environmental science, to name a few very large sub-fields - you need to be able to ask the right questions for your topic of choice. At this point, you also need to be able to perform experiments in order to answer your questions. Sometimes, there is no equipment that allows you to do the experiments you want to do, so you would need to build the equipment yourself, before your can do the experiments. Sometimes, even when you have the equipment, you may get no data, and sometimes, you may get results that do not make sense. All these factors mean that trying to solve a scientific problem can take many years, and the time it takes can be challenging for many of us. However, being able to answer your own scientific questions, with the experiments you designed and the results you observed yourself is very rewarding.

Answer 6:

Science is hard because it requires a certain level of mastery that can only be achieved by many hours of hard work.

Cognitive psychologists study how people become experts at a particular field. Often they study chess grandmasters because success in chess can be quantified and experiments can be designed in a controlled way; however their findings can be generalized to what it takes to become a master of anything, including science. If you want some more information, here is an article in Scientific American, expert mind

What the research shows is that it takes many years of “effortful study” in order to master something. Effortful study is not just practice, but practicing in a particular way that is challenging you to get better little by little. Learning science is like doing exercise for your brain; you want to push yourself so that you grow and become better at it, but not too much that it becomes overwhelming.

Another reason science is hard is because it is a growing and evolving body of knowledge. Scientists are constantly performing new experiments and writing their findings in science journals. Other scientists need to be reading these papers to understand the latest ideas. Unfortunately, for a new person coming into science, it often feels like walking into a room in the middle of a conversation and you have no idea what people are talking about. This is because in science there is a huge amount of assumed knowledge and scientific writing can be quite technical. The farther you go in your scienentific education, the more familiar you will become with some of this language, and sooner or later you will be able to read scientific articles, and you will be well on your way to becoming a proficient scientist.

Finally, science is hard because it is empirical. This means that no matter how beautiful or consistent or elegant my own ideas and theories are, they can always be disproved by experiments. Scientists are always improving how precisely they can measure things and often when we measure something more precisely, we find that what we thought was happening isn’t really the case. For, example, a scientists working on developing a new drug for a particular disease might really want this drug to work, and might spend many years developing this drug only to find that the experiments show that the drug doesn’t work. This can be frustrating, but it is the nature of scientific research.

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