There’s many ways to recognize a scientist and maybe surprisingly to some, the lab coat is not the most obvious, neither is the bad hair nor the distracted look, as the topic falsely assumes. In fact, the easier way to recognise them is that while having a beer -not necessarily the fourth one- they are those who, out of the blue, would ask: have you ever thought about why is beer foam always white regardless of the type of beer?
Questions like these are naïve, almost childish when formulated but actually are pretty difficult to answer (if you don’t believe me, just try answering the example above), born from an insatiable curiosity which is the true marker of a scientist and not the lab coat. In a way, it is as if we had got stuck in that time of childhood when we constantly bugged our parents with that recurrent question mark: why?
However, though defining this characteristic doesn’t belong exclusively to those who call themselves scientists. As children ,we were all inquiring, and if we manage to keep alive that curiosity, always eager to face an intellectual challenge even if as aparently simple as beer foam, it is possible that you end up becoming a scientist…or an artist, maybe both.
NASA’s mission to Mars was called Curiosity, and I doubt the name was a coincidence, because it is that constant state of restlesness that drives us who earn a living precisely on this. Even when it seems absurd, when sometimes we don’t manage to find the answer at the end of the way and all we can achieve is an espurious effort as we would make trying to answer the question of beer foam without the Wikipedia, knowing an expert in fermentation, or Master Brewer in Bayern.
I am no politician, no educator but often I wonder if educating in curiosity wouldn’t be one of the most efficient ways to get educated and responsible citizens. A curious individual wouldn’t be fooled because he/she will doubt and question. A curious individual will not simply swallow what the media offers cause he/she will search and compare for better alternatives. A curious individual would be in control of the world and the society she/he lives in because she/he doubts.
I don’t know if these ramblings are just a product of tiredness, caused by the political situation in my country (Spain) or simply, that I am just a curious scientist with a feeling for overthinking. And you? how´s your curiosity doing?
*Answer: beer foam is composed apart from the gas within the bubbles by the leftovers from the fermentation of yeast, hop adn wort. Because these elements are common to every beer, foams even though their consistencies and taste might differ have similar colors. This is only my interpretation from what I read in Wikipedia, if someone can tell me wrong, please do so in the comment section.