What is Science?

What is Science? Searching for the meaning of science yields numerous terms but science is so much more than the sum of definitions. Defining science is only the beginning.  Next we must answer the question: Why is science important?

In 2009, Alom Shaha, a science teacher, writer and film-maker, determined to answer this question. Alom is like educators around the world whose students ask: What’s the point of this? – which is another way to ask about the significance of science. Alom solicited responses to this question because his evident passion for science was not enough to convince his students that understanding science was more important than passing a test.

In Alom’s short film, leading scientists, public officials and everyday people weighed in on why science is important. Below are three representative responses. Science is important because:

  • It is critical for the survival of our species.
  • As humans, we have a moral and ethical responsibility to identify and to produce clean energy.
  • Our democracy depends on it.  Understanding science gives the citizens and elected officials the tools needed to make rational, practical and informed decisions about how to solve the problems we face.

Why is science important? Watch this video to learn why science is life.

This post is the first of a series of posts where we will feature articles from the National Academy of Sciences “On Being a Scientist”.  In each article, we will explore the culture and practice of science within the context of society as well as what it means to be a scientist. Stay tuned for  Part 2 of the series: “Who is a Scientist?”


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