Who made science?
Teacher: Mrs. Cleere
Hobbies/Interests: Running, playing on monkey bars, jumping
Career Interest: Scientist
Interests/hobbies: Nature, sports, hiking, cooking, being a dad
Great question, Desiree. Let me start with a story about the scientist Isaac Newton. About 350 years ago, he was thinking a lot about light, and what it is made of. He held a prism up to the light and saw how it made a rainbow of colors. This made him wonder if the rainbow came from the prism, or if it came from the light. So, he made up an experiment to answer his question. He got a second prism and held it up to the rainbow that the first prism made. Can you guess what happened?
The second prism made the rainbow turn back into normal light again. With this experiment, he proved for the first time that all the colors of the rainbow come from the light, and not directly from the prism.
Isaac Newton did more experiments with light, and then he wrote a book about what he learned so that other scientists could read it. He once said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." In other words, he was saying that he wouldn’t have been able to discover so many important things if it weren’t for the help of other scientists before him.
For the most part, that’s how science still works today. Scientists are always working together to build on previous discoveries and add more knowledge to what we already know. And just like Newton with his prism, many scientists today use technology and tools to help them do new kinds of experiments. In ancient times, though, scientists didn’t have things like prisms or any technology to use for experiments, so they mostly just thought about ideas and tested them with questions and reasoning. They were philosophers, like Aristotle, who lived more than 2,000 years ago. Science has changed a lot since then, but it is still important for scientists to test their ideas with good questions before they do experiments.
Although we can name many great scientists like Aristotle and Newton, we can’t say that any one of them made science on their own. Instead, lots and lots of smart people throughout history have made science what it is today by asking questions, doing experiments and sharing what they learn. And Desiree, as long as you are curious enough to ask questions and test your ideas with experiments, you are making science too!