Women at the Edge of Discovery: 40 True Science Adventures

Women at the Edge of Discovery: 40 True Science Adventures

Women at the Edge of Discovery: 40 True Science Adventures

Women at the Edge of Discovery: 40 True Science Adventures

Excerpt

Each time I ask students what makes a story fun to read, one of the first replies they offer is “adventure!” Thrilling stories of adventure makes reading, itself, an exciting adventure.

But what is adventure? Dictionaries describe adventure as an unusual event or events that create excitement and danger. Facing a charging rhino in the wild is an adventure. Swinging by a vine across a river of molten lava is an adventure. Hacking your way across an uncharted jungle island is an adventure.

But can ordinary science work be a thrilling adventure? Certainly, science involves lots of careful, hard work and study. Certainly reputable scientists try to take only carefully calculated risks and proceed to face dangerous moments only after as much study and preparation as possible. Many famous and productive scientists never face what we would call “adventures.”

But many do. The process of doing many types of science work inherently involves more risk and danger than most types of careers.

Any leap into the unknown for the sake of discovery can become an adventure. Science exploration and moments of discovery are always exciting, always unusual. Always the very real possibility exists that something unforeseen will happen and turn the moment into a dangerous disaster.

Kids typically think of science as boring, as endless tables, lists, theorems, and formulas to memorize and regurgitate. True, that is part of learning about science. But the process of doing science can be very different. It is creative, imaginative, inventive, and—yes— adventurous.

The doing of science is all about observing, about guessing, about venturing beyond the bounds of existing knowledge. Scien-

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