Do you have a passion for science and want to get your nerd on at home?
Science! Believe it or not, there are nearly infinite subjects, projects, and ways you can satisfy that boundless curiosity scientists are often known for. And you don’t even need a fully-stocked lab or expensive computer equipment to experience the rush of discovery, the captivating—and often hidden—beauty of the world around us.
There’s plenty you can do at home. But first, we’ll need to shift our perspective a bit about what science is exactly.
Let’s start by digging into a deep quote from renowned Physicist and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman:
“Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there” (source).
Science is essentially an attitude, one of many perspectives we can use when experiencing what’s around us. What Feynman is stressing with his quote is that science is a live, dynamic, and social activity. This means that as an aspiring scientist you can—or better yet should—participate in and investigate your current environment.
To drive this point further home, here are some examples of how you can immediately apply the scientific attitude:
Chances are that you have some kind of food stocked at home. You may not have thought of cooking or baking as a science before, but consider that you often need to combine and measure ingredients. And there’s a serious amount of chemistry involved in something as simple as boiling water or frying an egg. Whatever your interests or tastes, you can approach day-to-day cooking with family as an experiment and look deeper into its processes.
Agriculture is one of the oldest sciences that serves as a foundational pillar to modern life. The popular argument is that seed cultivation and crops helped nomadic tribes settle permanently which then led to modern civilization. Brief history aside, growing food or raising animals with others is a hands-on way to investigate biology. In fact, most of our scientific methods were developed by Statistician Ronald Fisher while studying crop data (source).
If cooking and growing plants is not your cup of tea, then you might find sports-related activities more interesting. Fact is that even if you’re a bro, you still need to have some sense of what goes on in and outside the weight room. No matter what sport you participate in, you can think of every workout or team practice as an experiment. What works? What doesn’t? How do you measure this? This actually involves some physics, anatomy, and physiology.
Whatever Interests You Science
There really is no limit to what kinds of activities or topics you can apply the scientific attitude to. Not too long ago, Computer Science was not even considered a formal academic discipline. It was more of a nerd hobby and passion that connected enthusiasts outside the classroom through the Internet. Even now, there are other new kinds of science cropping up that reflect the needs and thoughts of the world around us.
Maybe you will join the community that ends up creating a new science. Or perhaps you’ll discover your real scientific passion on a summer science program! At the very least, you’ll have a fun hobby 🙂
Contributed by Nick Fochtman