Why study science

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Why study science

This is a transcript of a QuickTime movie (9.7 MB) recorded at Shark Bay in 2005. Adrian Brown, from the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, talks about why he studies science.


For me the field of science, and this is coming from a background of doing an engineering degree and still feeling very much like I understand the field of engineering as well. I think that Science is much more radical than engineering. Scientists get to say ideas, comment on ideas, state them in paper and really be at the forefront of ideas. Later on engineers have to come on behind scientist’s ideas, pick up the pieces and put them together like lego blocks to form a technology that science once again will take a big leap from. So engineers are behind the scientists picking up, putting together these really smart sort of instruments and technology. But it is the scientists who go out into the field with the raw technology and raw ideas and ask the questions - how did it happen? And why is it so? Why are the stromatolites formed here and are we going to find them in places, like Mars? What would be the best way to, because I can not write to Mars, I want to send an instrument that would perceive the same things that I do and perhaps a little more, such as the Mars Exploration Rover. That's how a lot of their ideas come about. Lets build a Robotic geologist and the engineers went to work on putting together a geologist with a little bit more that a human could hold, with some rock abrasion tools, x ray instruments that a human hand could not compete with, but we'd love to have them if we were out in the field. So I see it as we are all one big human army if you will and the scientists are like the foragers going out in front of the main army and picking up ideas on what they feel around them. They are the sensors if you were a beetle crawling across a field. The scientists would be the sensors, the engineers would be the engine room and the heart, the body, the hard armour, and both of them working together to come up with a way to advance our way into the universe and into science. To push back the barriers of knowledge, to push back the ideas that humanity is, well, at the borders that we are currently.




Early Life



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