It is a reality that whenever we look around especially in a third world country like ours will somehow lead to the feeling that social problems are so much harder to deal with than the scientific ones. Even scientists will find it difficult to look at the perennial problem of poverty in the Philippines as well as the issue on informal settlers in Metro Manila. When we are caught in situations like this, our tongue are a bit tied as with our minds. Sometimes, I also have the same feeling with Keith Taber whenever I watch documentaries in television but teaching science theories in schools must not hinder these anxieties on the direct relationship of science to social world we call “REAL”.
Dust In the Wind
by Kim Rivera
The worth of tentative theory in science can be further explained by looking at the value of ideas from the scientists who live thousands of years ago. Democritus on 400 BC once said that matter have very tiny particles which cannot be further divided, he also proposed that the nature of one type of substance is affected by this very small indivisible particle. However, Aristotle was a more popular thinker during those times, so his earth, wind, fire and water, idea on matter became more acceptable than Democritus’. This one idea alone took a thousand year before John Dalton finally found which idea is real.
Simply put, no one amongst us will be here for long. As the old song goes, we are like ‘Dust in the wind’, in this thinking as science educators we must not stop in seeking for the truth (in as much as we can), because the bits and pieces of the puzzle we collected today can be a revelation to greater knowledge maybe after thousands of years too!
This is why Dmitri Mendeleev is a very much appreciated scientist; his works revealed that he recognized his limitations as a person by leaving some spaces in his version of the periodic table. Mendeleev accepted that his life will not be enough to discover all the elements; he did not assume that his collection of data is sufficient and complete neither he presented to the scientific community his periodic table as if it was the greatest, like what others did.
Our entire lifetime, and I am sure of this, will never be enough or even be half enough to solve the prevailing social problems in our country but this should not stop us in working hard as science educators because humanity is never judge through generations not even in centuries but in its entire history. As what the simple scientific method teaches us, we have to take one step at a time.