by Andre on 19 November 2005
I find there’s a special kind of awe associated with seeing nature in a new way. I often get it looking up at the night sky and trying to hold in my mind everything happening on the surface of Earth as it’s hurtling through the vacuum on another trip around the sun. Carl Sagan called it numinous. It’s like a scientist’s version of a religious experience. It’s easy to lose touch with that feeling after days in the lab pulling proteins but on some level it’s why I chose to do science.
I feel there’s an essential tension in thinking scientifically. It’s important to question everything and demand good evidence, but to stay motivated I need to just bask in nature’s glory sometimes. Thinking analytically is important, but if you aren’t creative your analysis will be empty. For me these types of thinking don’t coexist very well. To be productive I need to maintain a kind of dual personality and switch between them regularly.