Science and the Wonderful Why

Curiosity.“Why? Why? Why?” Anyone who has been around small children has experienced the monotonous, often aggravating, seemingly endless barrage of the “W” word. Why does soap make bubbles? Why do feathers float and acorns fall to the ground? Why are baths important? Why are those flowers purple? Why can’t I be purple? Why do tigers have stripes and leopards have spots and lions don’t have anything (majestic manes not withstanding)? Why can rocks bounce (skip) off water? Why didn’t my rock bounce? Why does the plant in the window bend toward the light? Why are my eyes blue and my brother’s eyes brown?

It would seem that from a very young age people are hard wired to think like a scientist. It is not enough to simply know a feather will float slowly to the ground while the acorn will plummet, or that plants turn their leaves toward the sunlight. We want to know why.

I have watched nieces and nephews as well as my own children pass through the “Wonderful Why?” stage, and I have noticed that there is often a predictable progression to the questions: “Why do plants turn their leaves toward the light?” is quickly followed by: “How do they move their leaves to face the light?” and then “What if we took away the light?”

Ray Bradbury said,

Touch a scientist and you touch a child.

As children we are all scientists. It is just that some of us never grow up.

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Kelly Grooms

Scientific Communications Specialist at Promega Corporation
Kelly earned her B.S. in Genetics from Iowa State University in Ames, IA. Prior to coming to Promega, she worked for biotech companies in San Diego and Madison. Kelly lives just outside Madison with her husband, son and daughter. Kelly collects hobbies including jewelry artistry, reading, writing, photography and knitting. She would like to be an avid runner, as evidenced by her growing collection of running gear and her single half-marathon finishers t-shirt.

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