Friday, January 25, 2013


           When you hear the word “scientist” what do you think of? A crazy eyed man or extreme intelligence? A white lab coat who is overly systematic? A pompous man with bozo hair and large glasses?

Well, for me, I immediately think of Sheldon Copper from The Big Bang Theory. (If you haven’t ever watched The Big Bang Theory I would highly recommend going on Free TV and watching an episode or two OR you can watch this Sheldon Cooper Example for a taste of the one and only Sheldon Cooper). Even though he is unquestionably intelligent and performs his job as a physicist with unimaginable precision and care, Sheldon, like many other real-life scientists, lacks a characteristic that prevents him from sharing his discoveries with the public. This fairly standard yet very essential trait to life that the scientific community lacks is compassion.

Now, you may think why would a scientist ever need to be compassionate? Don’t they just have to perform experiments and report their findings to the public? Do you really have to be sympathetic or sociable to do that? What many people do not realize though, is that the job of the scientists is going beyond simple experiments and results; scientists are now through the advancement of technology debunking many common beliefs, which is where a scientist’s need for compassion and understanding comes into play. A scientist can not merely go out into the world one day and nonchalantly tell society that some of the basic ideas that they grew up learning are wrong; Al Gore can’t simple call up Joe the Plumber and tell him to change his consumer life-style because climate change has been proven nor can Bill Nye the Science Guy tell a congregation of Christians that creationism, a 2,000 year old belief, has been disproved by a couple of old, dirty fossils. If scientists try shoving their belief-changing finding down society’s throat, then the people will not only NOT believe the facts but they will also begin to question science as a whole (SPOILER ALERT: this is already happening with climate change, evolution, and many other findings).
            In order to avoid a mass distrust in science, scientists must shift from being Sheldon-like to adapting to a more compassionate way of life. A scientist must approach the controversial issues with great tact. He/she must understand that the topics they are discrediting are deeply rooted in people’s culture. Therefore the scientific findings must be released with compassion in order to avoid an emotional response from the public. Only then will our society have even the slightest possibility of becoming entirely scientifically literate. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Letter

Two years ago on a brisk February afternoon I was carrying a letter to the blue slightly dented mail box two blocks away from my house. This was no ordinary letter though. I was not writing to the pen pal I’ve always dreamed of having nor sending my late Christmas thank you cards out to various family members. This letter was much more influential and life changing. It was my college acceptance letter to Ursinus.
            As I walked I reflected on the past year, of which I spent countless hours online looking at colleges, traveling around the nation to visit them, and talking to various teachers, counselors and so on about what the “right” decision would be for me. I reflected on how petrified I was that my decision wouldn’t be “right”. How, I remember thinking in late September, did they expect my inexperienced 18 year-old self to make this kind of decision? As I shuffled through the gray slush that lined my street I still was faintly scared, but, even though I couldn’t put my finger on why, I knew my gut was telling me that Ursinus was the place for me.
            Presently, as a slightly more experienced 20-year-old sophomore at Ursinus, I can finally put my finger on why I was attracted to this quaint campus 12 hours from my house. It wasn’t the amazing food at Wismer or the huge freshman dorm rooms, but instead I was enticed by the impressive liberal arts education. Unlike many other schools, Ursinus urges their students to go beyond their academic comfort zone. The college has formed a curriculum that allows students to achieve expertise in their desired major while also being allowed to dabble in the many other subjects offered, from biology to dance to philosophy to calculus. This type of curriculum generates well-rounded, proficient adults who become crucial in our democratic society. In the United States and in other democratic societies, the people, in the end, are the ones who have the ability to vote on laws and to make potential political and social changes into reality. The issues they are voting on and the changes they make though, are often multifaceted and highly complex. They do not merely concern one sector of our nation but instead many different sectors and they affect almost everyone one way or another. This means in order to have a strong democracy that creates adequate solutions our society must be comprised of multifaceted, complex, well-educated citizens, AKA Ursinus graduates. These will be the individuals who will be able to see and understand every side of an issue, therefore being better able to make the appropriate political, economic, or societal change. In other words, if our society was comprised of liberal arts educated citizens then our democracy and our Nation, as a whole, would thrive.
            Every time I see a group of wide-eyed, frightened, high school senior follow a talkative tour guide around campus I think back to the walk to my mailbox. Choosing Ursinus and its liberal arts education was an intimidating decision, but it was unquestionable the right one. Ursinus has prepared my fellow students and I to be global, active citizens in our democracy, which I truly hope the recently accepted high school students see and that this will be enough to instill that gut feeling I felt two years ago. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The beginning....

"Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality"
-Jonas Salk