Science as it is traditionally thought about is a quest for answers that sates an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Yet, I see science in a different light. Paradoxically, by finding out more we in fact to come to realise how little we actually know. I see science as the quest for questions rather than answers. Let me demonstrate this. Imagine a dark room, whatever is in this room is shrouded in darkness and unknown to us. Now, shine a spotlight into this room that only illuminates a small area of this unknown space, this lit area is what we know. The circumference of this lit area is surrounded by a darkness that we know about, this darkness is the things we know we don’t know about. Beyond this circumference are the things we are unable to see. In fact, we don’t even know that we don’t know about this space. It is not observable. These are the unknown, unknowns. By finding the answers to those known unknowns at the circumference we can expand our knowledge and thus the lit area grows. However, as an area grows in size so too does a shapes circumference. Therefore the more we find out about the world the more we come to realise how little we actually know. This isn’t a negative process though, as we push forward the boundaries of knowledge so too do we diminish the area left for unknown unknowns to exist. Thus science, to me, is more about discovering the questions rather than the answers. It is only by asking the right questions that the veil of darkness surrounding us can be pushed back and our understanding of the world can become more complete.
“As our circle of knowledge expands, so too does the circumference of darkness surrounding it” – Albert Einstein