When I was in high school, I didn’t like science, or at least I didn’t admit to it. Science class was pretty boring back then, and I also had it in my head that I couldn’t comprehend anything like that. To some extent, I still do, but I’m a little less afraid to try new things these days. Either way, I missed out on learning quite a bit about the universe by picking easier science classes back then, and not paying attention in those classes to boot.
My desire to learn about anything involving science is fivefold in origin:
- The “I F***ing Love Science” page on Facebook (the F-Word is not edited on Facebook). For you purists out there, this might sound like the stupidest way to get into science at all, but I love how they take scientific fact and utilize social media to put it out there in fascinating and often humorous ways. Yes, it doesn’t look all professional and academic like some people I’m sure would prefer, but that’s the point: science is awesome, and there’s plenty of excellent reasons to nerd out about it!
- The Big Bang Theory. Lately, everybody seems to be coming out of the woodwork to hate this show, but I really don’t care. I find it to be pretty funny, and it’s led me to some excellent Google searches because I wanted to know what the heck they were talking about.
- Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe series. This ties back to the first two on this list. I’ve been reading about Stephen Hawking and his work for a little bit now, and when I found this series on Netflix, I settled in to watch a really neat show about the universe, time travel, and possible ends to the universe. So awesome
- Finally, there’s the whole science vs. faith thing. I’ve long grown tired of people arguing over creationism vs. evolution, in which I came to fell on the evolution side, but being on the evolution side of the debate has prompted me to pursue knowledge regarding the origins of the universe (from a purely scientific standpoint) and see what that looks like in a faith-driven context.
- I blew this stuff off in high school (among other subjects), and I really regret that. If I had paid better attention then in all my classes, a lot of things in my life could have been drastically different (or at least I would have learned some really cool stuff). This is part of my effort to reclaim lost time in high school, especially since I can’t (and don’t exactly want to) go back and do it all over again.
So, why string theory specifically? Aside from the fact that I borrowed the book from the coolest bartender in Harrisburg (who works at the coolest bar in Harrisburg), I’m reading about this because of what string theory aspires to be, which is a unified theory of everything. According to the book itself, quantum mechanics and general relativity have been at odds ever since the development of each field, even though both work to explain and answer questions raised on the atomic and cosmological levels of the universe respectively. String theory, as it has developed and continues to develop, serves to bridge the gap between the two fields, thus creating one unified field of physics. This is a pretty big claim, and I’m already thoroughly fascinated by the contents of this book and string theory’s efforts to accomplish unifying all of physics.
Seriously, take interest in the things that bored you as a teenager. Read those novels you were forced to read in English class. Go to a science lecture at a local college. Take a class you totally blew off in high school. You might just find something you love. If you’re in high school and you’re reading this, don’t blow it off! You might want to stay at home and play xBox, or your friends might think you’re weird for actually paying attention and doing your homework (or even extra credit!), but it’s worth it. I’m 25, and I’m a little sad at all that I missed out on back then because I was more interested in Myspace than Biology. It might never be too late, but it’s always best to start early!