Explaining science to non-scientists
October 23, 2012 8:46 PM Subscribe
Scientists of Metafilter: How do you answer the question, "What practical purpose does your research serve?"
posted by vortex genie 2 to science & nature (28 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is my least favorite question I field from non-scientists. Worse than "Oh you are a plant biologist what is wrong with my roses?"
I study plant evolution for a living. What I love about this work (among many things) is asking new questions, learning things no one has ever learned before, and expanding the body of human knowledge because the world is worth understanding. I am not increasing crop yields or finding a cure for cancer.
What do you say to people who don't understand the purpose of scientific research that has no immediate applicability in the regular, non-scientific world?