I graduated recently with a BSc in Psychology from the University of Alberta. Most of my research experience has been kind of interdisciplinary and I am still trying to find my niche. I find myself interested in various aspects of science & scientific communication but if I had to try and define it concisely, I would go with “research and education in health sciences, neuroscience and psychology.”
When I started this blog several years ago, I was a busy and overwhelmed undergraduate student who thought blogging would be a way to discover new interests. However, recently it became apparent to me that I have long lived in a lofty academic tower from whence I could not reach the general public because I had spent so long in academia that I had no idea what a general audience would or would not be familiar with. I saw people sharing scientifically unfounded, occasionally downright hilarious and wrong articles on social media and of course my initial response was outrage. I responded to them with condescension and derided peoples’ lack of knowledge. It used to give me some small comfort because I could be up here on my high, high horse & mock the unwashed masses.
But the power of the public is not to be underestimated. Public policy tend to be influenced largely by public opinion, as opposed to expert consultations. Therefore it is very important for experts to at least attempt to educate the public so the public is well-informed on the matters that affect their well-being. As well, most research in Canada is publicly funded and the public have a right to be able to access what they are putting their money towards. In the internet era where anyone can post anything and uninformed frauds can obtain wide-reaching influence, it is more and more important for scientists and trained experts to also be able to communicate their findings and their importance to minimize the flow of misinformation (and also to continue obtaining funding). There is of course, also the issue of class privilege. I have had the amazing opportunity to obtain a higher education at a prestigious university, as well as the opportunity to grow up in a household and surroundings that emphasized learning and growth. Not everyone is as fortunate and therefore may not be as well-informed or even have the desire to become so.
In summary: I came across a fork in the road. One well traveled by scientists of yore, who separated themselves from the riff-raff and pish-poshed at the need to let them know why they were doing what they were doing, leading to people thinking that we are uppity jerks (and maybe some of us are, but we are mere humans and we get tired sometimes). The other was only-beginning to be forged by some brave pioneers who came before me. Those messier & more daunting than the former, I chose to go down this one, so I can hope to find a new me that dared to go on an adventure even though it would be more comfortable to live in an intellectual castle.
The URL is pronounce “science tome”, not “science to me”.
tome (noun): A book, especially a large, heavy, scholarly one.
It’s meant to be tongue in cheek, not to be taken really seriously.
The title is a pun. “Which neurotransmitters keep porpoises happy? Endolphins.”