Science is specific to human beings

The carrying out of scientific work is characterised by a method which is specific to it. The latter leans both on experimentation and on logical reasoning. Its goal is to discover in a methodological manner the regularities which structure the world in order to formulate ‘laws’ capable of predicting effects starting from the basis of causes.

Science has its origins in the astonishment provoked in us by the events which surround us. That is why, for as long as human beings remain capable of being surprised, of dreaming and imagining, science will continue to have an active life. In this sense, science is specific to human beings: it is the ensemble, still uncompleted, of the tools which men and women construct to provide objective and verifiable responses to the questions set by the physical world.

Experimentation is an essential stage of scientific work. It demands a good dose of imagination as it is a matter of designing an experiment capable of being rigorously observed and whose results, correctly interpreted, will be able to demonstrate to us if the way we understand the world is ‘true’ or ‘false.’ In science no theory is eternal. That is the reason why testing the theories and potentially showing that they are wrong or incomplete is so important. Scientists must be at the same time curious, passionate and modest.

Even if it satisfies a scientist’s intellectual needs and curiosity, Science is in no way locked inside an ivory tower. More often than not, it endeavours to resolve a problem society is faced with or, more modestly, a practical challenge. A specifically human process, Science is at the service of men and women.

It cannot be dissociated from its political, economic, social and ethical involvements; it is strongly dependent on them. Depending on the various objectives fixed at the beginning we can distinguish, with fluid borders, basic research, applied research, research-development and technological research.

Beyond its dreams for knowledge, science is closely tied to every aspect of human life. Science is specific to humanity and it will live for as long as it will. It is up to it to make everyone give the lie to the idea attributed to Claude Bernard*: "for the learned person science develops the head and kills the heart".

*Claude Bernard (1813-1878) was a French physician, physiologist and epistemologist.

Share this page