The sport of science is not a sprint. We do not jump from discovery to discovery, continuously rewriting our understanding and overhauling long-held beliefs in a minute’s notice. Sure, science is a process of continual, endless upgrades, but it is a slow, slow exercise which creaks and groans ahead through time, decades, and even centuries.
If a headline is telling you that a significant new discovery will totally alter our paradigms, it is likely incorrect. Not because the outcome could be incomplete or even wrong, but since that is just not how science functions.
Take the atom. A bedrock of the contemporary comprehension of physics, chemistry, and normally The Way Things Work. From the early 1800’s chemist and all-around smart man, John Dalton developed the first scientific concept of the atom, which makes a persuasive case that the substance of everyday existence was made from little pieces. He even went so far as to estimate that the masses of a number of those pieces.
But get this: it took another hundred decades of dogged scientific pursuit to actually convince ourselves that electrons existed. Individuals like Ernest Rutherford and Albert Einstein managed to weave theory and experimentation into a consistent framework, and it required later generations of scientists to construct from this and then paint the portrait of the subatomic world.
A hundred decades. A hundred decades! A century of advancement to proceed from”solid concept, fantastic job, John” into”we get it today”.
We view this story perform during science and during time. An abrupt experiment or milestone thesis will appear on the scene unexpectedly, together with all the scientific world taking note. But launching a door does not mean that you’ve walked through it those flashpoints in a background or significant dates which we read about in college are only the start of the actual work.
Science is slow. Science is slow. Science is painstaking and intolerable. Science takes bits and pieces from innumerable individual labors within the generations to construct a coherent concept.
And it is this way for a reason. As scientists, we have to be uber-skeptical. We must check and recheck our job. And do it. We just can not acknowledge every single new piece of proof without assessing it and integrating it into existing frameworks. . .or, when the evidence accumulates past a certain critical threshold, then dismantling that frame in favor of a brand new one.
Should you ever meet a scientist, then you are going to realize they are hyper-focused in a nearly bizarrely narrow difficulty, a subset of a subset of a subset of a bigger theory. That is where actual progress in mathematics is made: miniature efforts, gradually inching outwards and shoving the bounds of our understanding.