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Why You Should Study Science

Why You Should Study Science

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Is a science degree really worth it? Absolutely.

Why sit back and read fiction whey you can theorize about the beginning and end of entire universes? Or maybe you could create metallic complexes that seek out cancer cells? Or you could be a ‘martian’ in Ridley Scott’s next blockbuster.

At the very core of science is the pursuit of truth. Science is used everyday from electricity to antibiotics and is a cornerstone to our hyper-modern civilisation.

In recent years, Australia has been a quiet, but significant contributor to many recent scientific milestones. This can partly be attributed to the world class science and research efforts of Australian universities.

It may be very tempting to flick through the pages of a magazine to the astrology section to read all about how the motion of the planets may influence our lives. Astrology was invented by the philosopher Claudius Ptolemy, and how our lives have changed. Since then, new planets have been discovered and the earth’s axis of rotation has changed by 23 degrees.

The movement of stars across the night’s sky has for many years interested scientists and non-scientists alike and astronomy has ballooned into a huge branch of modern physics that continues to excite.. The Australian astrophysicist, Brian Schmidt FAA FRS recently won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.

This may all sound like technical nonsense, but what does this really mean? Cosmology, the branch of physics that theorises how the universe started and how it will end, has for a long time struggled with the following contradiction: Why is the universe observed to expand at an accelerating rate when we know that gravity pulls matter together? The answer is dark energy.

This mysterious force that has eluded experimentalists for so long is central to modern theories of cosmology. Schmidt’s co-proof of the accelerating universe only four years ago demonstrates Australia’s ability to conduct world class research. As a nation we must continue to promote scientific research and undergraduate studies in science because it is the key to innovation and future prosperity.

The enormous funds which is poured into science, globally has unequivocally been one of the most effective tools to increase the quality of life for all humanity and progress human knowledge.

Until recently, cervical cancer had been difficult to treat simply because its cause was unknown. The Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology was awarded to Harald zur Hausen for his discovery of human papilloma viruses (HPV) which cause 70 per cent of all cervical cancers. This sparked an intense research effort to produce a vaccine for the HPV virus which was discovered by the Australian Immunologist Ian Fraser AC FAA.

This has undoubtedly saved thousands of lives within the last decade and will continue to save hundreds of thousands more in the future.

Is a science degree really worth it? Absolutely. The ability of mankind to make accurate theories about the physical world around us demonstrates the great capacity of the human mind and is well worth continuing for the sake of our species’ progression.

New branches of interdisciplinary research such as mathematical physiology and medical physics ensures that scientific cures and discoveries will continue well into the future. Science truly is a vibrant and diverse field of academic endeavor and is certainly worth pursuing.

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