“Writing organizes and clarifies our thoughts. Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own. Writing enables us to find out what we know—and what we don’t know—about whatever we’re trying to learn.”
― William Zinsser, Writing to Learn: How to Write–And Think–Clearly about Any Subject at All
Thanks for joining me!
The Optimistic Scientist was born out of a desire to apply my favorite aspects of being a bench scientist – pursuing new information to be applied to today’s therapies with an OCD level of attention to detail – to my thirst for creativity, writing, and education. I needed a place where I could respond to today’s headlines and comment on the technical design of an experiment and its claims, in a way that current media is sorely lacking.
I’ve always cast a wide net when it comes to what areas of science interest me. My passion isn’t limited to a single scope, although the combination of skills and techniques I’ve acquired over the years in research has somewhat eloquently led me to cancer immunotherapy. At the end of the day, I just really like learning. I love reading articles and finding textbooks on topics I know nothing about, and I like following those rabbit holes of “Why?” , “How?” and “What if?” from something I’ve read online or see on television. If you ask my friends, I’m frequently responding to our lives with, “That’s not how that works” when a sci-fi movie tries to haphazardly toss in a fancy gene name to explain some mystical phenomenon. My best friend will say I am impossible to watch medical dramas with. (If I see one more doctor wheel their patient to the MRI suite and then run the MRI, I’m going to throw something at the TV). I like to learn more (have I mentioned I like learning?) about what I don’t know, and I’m not a fan of seeing science or medicine misrepresented in films, television or news sources.
Beyond what you see in films or television, social media has drastically changed the way we communicate and receive news. We’re bombarded with information that requires us to determine its validity. I want to help non-scientists navigate new findings and help encourage people to look at every outrageous headline with a healthy dose of skepticism. Too much skepticism though isn’t great either, so that’s where the optimism comes in. We need to be critical about what information we trust and who we’re trusting to teach us what we don’t know. Everyone benefits when we remain open-minded and skeptical by not blindly sharing every new “article” published that claims the exact opposite health benefits of what you were told last month. However, we can lose sight of the good in the world if we let ourselves drown in all the crap that’s out there. Climate change is real folks, but I’m optimistic we’ll figure something out. Our current political landscape is a nightmare, but I remain optimistic that it won’t be like this forever.
So I invite you to walk with me, ask me all the science questions you’ve ever had but never found answers to, send me an article you want explained, whatever and I’ll do my best to critique and clarify what’s presented. We can all learn a bit more together about the world around us.
Friendly reminder in the form of a comic – alternative facts are not welcome. This is a place for science not anecdotal evidence presented as law. I welcome your input about what to investigate and I welcome intelligent discourse, but just like all those yard signs, hate has no home here. So please keep that in mind before you hit enter.
So! With that in mind, what is something you’ve seen in the news that you want some answers about? Shoot me an email at email@example.com!
Making lemonade out of lemons since the late 1980’s,
The Optimistic Scientist