The difference between science and screwing around
Photo credit: Ralf Weiser taken on 11/22/2014 at the Kimmel Center Philly as part of the Behind the Myths Tour with Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from the Mythbusters show
Son Max and I got an early Christmas present from my wife. She calls our whole family a “Living With Nerds”. That is with good reason. We love the geeky and nerdy science stuff in just about everything there is. So it is no wonder that we like the folks from Mythbusters so much.
Little did I know how much I would like the Behind the Myths show. Adam posed the above question to the audience at one point: “What is the difference between science and screwing around?” Much like the rest of the audience, I was stumped. He then proceeded telling us that the only difference would be that a scientist writes everything down.
Much like a lot they said and did this too got applauded and well deserved laughter. It is true though. How we learn things is not the “Aha!”, it’s the “Huh?”. Get the difference? Look at small babies and puppies. They exemplify this kind of learning pattern. The don’t learn from expected outcome. They learn from being constantly confronted by the unexpected. Then they explore it more and back up their conclusions by increasing their sample rate. Patterns automatically emerge. They have learned a lesson! We unfortunately do not make a habit of recording everything we learn this way. Nevertheless we habitually learn through the “huh?”
So why should you even care? For one it is to appreciate how much of your life is related or directly connected to scientific principles. We use the same methods high level scientist use in our everyday lives. The most important take away from this is journaling. Do you journal? You should. It has been proven that the most successful people journal for 15 minutes every day (here is a must read article on this topic). It’s like Adam’s assertion about the scientist who records what he finds. That is the difference between just having fun and having fun with purpose.
PS: Max had a blast at the Miriam Theater. Here he is with Jamie Hyneman in the audience. Adam and Jamie are fantastic how they get the audience involved in the show.