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Feeling foolish

Pat asked me if I wanted to write FairerScience’s contribution to this month’s Scientiae Carnival – which features the April 1st appropriate topic of Fools & Foolishness. At first I was a little stuck on the topic and kept rereading Peggy’s description: “You can use the theme to take an introspective look at something foolish in your own past or write about the foolishness of others.” Finally an idea bubbled up – feeling foolish about science.

As I mentioned in one of my earliest blog posts at FairerScience, I’ve never been a big science person. And yet the universe seems to be conspiring to make me one, or at the very least make me more of one. First, I met and then married a scientist - an analytical chemist to be more specific (that was quite the clash of cultures as we met while I was thoroughly enjoying my summer session class on qualitative research methods). In another happy turn of events, he and his closest friends from graduate school all wound up living in the Boston area so there’s a lot of fun socializing. When everyone gets together I’m generally the only non-scientist among a group of six or seven PhD scientists. And now I am working with Pat on lots of science-related projects and blogging at FairerScience. So, science keeps becoming an increasingly greater part of my life, right down to the salt and pepper shakers in our kitchen.

So, how does this relate to April’s theme of Fools & Foolishness? Well, as someone who struggled mightily in high school science classes and now lives with a scientist, socializes with scientists, and works on lots of science-related projects, I spend some of my time feeling and sounding foolish. I’m going to spare myself the embarrassment of retelling some of my more egregious scientifically foolish statements (although with enough enticement my husband Gary may tell a tale or two). Here’s where I throw a little introspection in – it’s ok that I sometimes make a fool out of myself. I don’t need to know everything about everything and I think between the two of us, Gary & I have enough knowledge about different topics to cover all of the pie pieces in a Trivial Pursuit game . I also like to think that the work I’m doing with FairerScience and Campbell-Kibler helps reduce the amount of scientific foolishness in the world along with making me feel a little less foolish about science everyday.