By in Science

Science was Fun in Ben Franklin's Day

I am a degreed chemist. I took post-degree, graduate level courses at the University of Virginia. I much enjoy science!

But, to be honest, science was much more fun in earlier times. In the 1700s and early 1800s. Science lay in the hands of individual researchers. Often those researchers were well-to-do. Money allowed for leisure time. Leisure time allowed for scientific pursuits.

One "ordinary" man who was much interested in science was Benjamin Franklin. And, yes, he lived during this time window.

Don't get me wrong. I feel entirely privileged to be living during this time frame (for reasons I do not here disclose). But for the pursuit of science by the individual, I feel somewhat deprived.

Scientists in this day and age are often part of a team, even if they are working at the University level. Sponsorship often demands this. Individual initiative is not normally the driving force for the scientific researcher.

Then again, is personal "glory" really all that important? It can be pretty rewarding to make a major discovery as part of a team.

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lookatdesktop wrote on May 20, 2017, 11:54 PM

You have yet to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

cmoneyspinner wrote on May 22, 2017, 10:36 PM

I have a theory. I think scientists in earlier times were actually trying to understand science. Whether as an individual or a part of a team, it's great as long as it's real science. I have questions about some of our modern people in the field of science. I sometimes think there's a money angle or some sort of profit motive in what they report on. It's just a theory or a suspicion rather.

VinceSummers wrote on May 23, 2017, 7:49 AM

I think it's quite possibly (in some instances, anyway) a fame thing. As to the money thing, if one isn't published, they may not receive money grants to do research. So there is at least that validity to what you say...

MegL wrote on May 23, 2017, 8:55 AM

In previous times, I would not have had the money to be able to work as a researcher, much as I might have liked to. And apart from a few (moneyed) females who followed, or were allowed to follow, their interests, such as Ada Lovelace, a mathematician and the first computer programmer in the 1800s plus a number of other female scientists, I might not have been "allowed" to study science.

VinceSummers wrote on May 23, 2017, 9:23 AM

That's too bad, really. And it reminds me of an Animated Hero Classic "cartoon" about Marie Curie. Her sister was to study in college in Poland, but the Russians disallowed a woman from attending. So Marie worked to enable her sister to leave the country to attend University. By the way, that animated classic is on YouTube.

cmoneyspinner wrote on May 23, 2017, 4:13 PM

I vaguely recall it now, but I thought I heard some scandal about Japanese scientists falsifying reports or trying to take credit for work they had not done. It's a blur. But talk about "losing face". Incidents like that really upset me because I believe a true dedicated scientist can do so much good in this world. When you have a brain like that, it's a gift not to be abused.