What is the real power of outreaching? What is the impact?


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The role of a scientist

  It is interesting how society sees a scientist. Actually, the term "scientist" is very generic. There are biologists, physicists, chemists, and mathematicians; even beyond that, there are multiple specializations inside each one. But still, when science is mentioned in the, news it is just: "Scientists discovered a new molecule", "Scientists found a new planet", and "Scientists can fight cancer with a new drug".

  I concluded my undergrad studies in Biology in 2006, but I will be sincere, if we go to the woods, I won't be a good help in identifying plants and fungi. I had some botanical and fungi studies, but they stayed in a basic level since all my internships weren't in that field and both Master's and doctorate also aren't associated with that. I went towards human health, more specifically with molecular biology and bioinformatics. We all tend to go as much as possible in a single subject and be experts in that field, that's how we grow! Publishing articles in the field usually leads to a new question that we can continue to pursue or at least leave as a legacy in the field, maybe another guy will continue and find another important thing in that field. Scientific articles are very technical because they need to demonstrate that they can be reproducible and to have all the information that can bring some formal conclusions about the results. In conclusion, unfortunately, they aren't made to be read by everyone.

  Because of that, many scientists forget about that, and they just keep moving on with their things in this cycle, producing hypotheses, working to answer them, publishing, and going to scientific conferences. They forget that the whole society is the real beneficiary of the products of this research. Even if a person doesn't like math, biology, physics and chemistry, science influences the life of this person. Nature is around! The Sun is on top of our heads! Lots of different things are happening in our atmosphere and inside our bodies. Organisms are entering our body or sometimes problems are found in our genes.

  Science research isn't easy, but we need to also publish the information for these people, who don't know what is a Ribosome and its function (probably they heard in school, but they won't remember about it). People tend to see scientists as people of other worlds, like aliens! And these aliens don't speak the human language. Here at hive we have a good opportunity to bring real-life subjects to reach these people. A great initiative is the project Citzien science on hive. In this project, anyone can learn how to use their own computer to perform some physics experiments. More projects like this are good and bring people that have a curiosity about how a scientific experiment works.

Consequences

  Disinformation causes ignorance. I am ignorant of multiple subjects but I avoid talking about them because of that. We always try to fill gaps in our knowledge when we are thinking or discussing them, with that false concepts emerge sometimes, and it can get worse when we find the wrong information doing some web search. Science topics are always in the press. For the last two years, a pandemic was caused by an infectious organism, but also we have global temperature changes and planetary discoveries coming once in a while. Some questioning about discoveries is normal to happen, but the problem is when these questioning are repeated since before the Christ era, like the shape of the Earth. Science history is fascinating, it makes us think how some thoughts can persist and new questioning is like old questions that were already solved.


https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2020-12-07/brazils-leader-ignores-deadly-virus-lessons-from-the-past

  I remember at high school when in history I learned about an interesting historical event in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil called the Vaccine Revolt in the early 1900s. At that time, the population was suffering a lot since Rio was the capital and the Brazilian President and the current city mayor wanted to develop the city, starting to construct Boulevard and demolishing poor people's houses. At the same time, they hired a Brazilian Sanitarian studying microorganisms in the Pasteur Institute in France, Oswaldo Cruz, to solve the problem of Small Pox in the city. So he brought the smallpox vaccine, which also has an interesting history. Smallpox vaccine was primarily done in that time with the cowpox virus from the wounds of cow mammary glands, and it was also working for human smallpox. This history, of course, added some misinformation about the vaccine, some medical doctors were saying that taking this vaccine would create some tumors in children that would turn into cow horns. Misinformation and social discontentment make a bad revolt against the order to take the vaccine in Rio. At that time in school, I thought, " This type of thing would never happen again , because now people are better educated".

  I was wrong of course, people need to be in constant education and absorbing the information and we scientists are the ones that could help solve this gap in people's heads with good information. Maybe good is not the right definition because something isn't good or bad, yet information is well justified and based on a good hypothesis that was proved.

  I read good articles in hive already, people discussing the over usage of antibiotics, for example. Why this can be dangerous. How to fight a virus, like flu. Do we have good medicine for that? Is there a cure for cancer? For that last one, I am tired of hearing about a pharmacological company's conspiracy about not providing a full cure for cancer like cancer would be so easy to curse since it has been around a long time. Maybe my next post is going to be around this topic. Like my previous post about the genetics tests for general public purchase, is a topic that I read a lot for more than 10 years. I call everyone reading and understand a topic because it is studying a lot about it to bring to the public and post here in the hive, and it doesn't need to have a master's or Ph.D. in the area. A person with a title doesn't bite and also wants to learn more!

  More about the vaccine revolt you can find in this nice 1994 video made by the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Brazil: here


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Hi! Interesting post.

It is interesting how society sees a scientist. Actually, the term "scientist" is very generic. There are biologists, physicists, chemists, and mathematicians;

Yep, although I disagree that mathematicians are scientists since they don't need to apply the scientific method. The same with medical doctors, teachers, engineers, etc. They're rather technicians. They can do scientific research from time to time though.

People tend to see scientists as people of other worlds, like aliens! And these aliens don't speak the human language.

I can tell. It's happened to me. But ironically, the people who look at you that way don't need to be poorly educated. Many highly educated people out there don't understand science lovers-geeks-nerds. That also happens to skeptics a lot. Many people look down at you for being skeptic.

A great initiative is the project Citzien science on hive. In this project, anyone can learn how to use their own computer to perform some physics experiments.

Yup, you're welcome to join!

Disinformation causes ignorance. [...] Science topics are always in the press.

Oh boy, this is long talk. As for the science and the news, this reminds me of Carl Sagan when he wrote something like "he was contributing to the hopeless cause of improving the presence of science in television". The thing is that too many TV networks show science news when they're sensational, otherwise they prefer to broadcast pseudoscientific stuff, because it sells a lot. I am afraid this is still valid nowadays. 'Sensationalism sells, skepticism doesn't' like Sagan would put it. But we're doing our best :)

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Good that you used Sagan as example! HE motivated thousands of kids to pursue space research!
About the mathematicians, I agree in half! I know some of them that work with models to explain disease outbreaks, for example.

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Ignorance happens. That's just the way people are.

!discovery 23

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Science should not be underestimated because it has been helping us in most of our endeavors. I guess scientists need to be paid more so as to educate the masses and carry more researches

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In every country, when they start with an economic crisis, what sector do they start to cut? Science! It is so weird :P

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(Edited)

I wouldn't say it's ignorance, or history repeating itself (maybe it is). Even so, Brazil has more % of their population with full vaccinated than a lot of "more educated countries", I think they're one of the top countries with more people vaccinated. It's really a difficult subject.

And I don't think it's about education or what ever. People just trust their doctors (or science) in most places, there's respect for them. There's also respect for authorities in a time of crisis. I'm pretty sure most of us don't how a vaccine works, yes I can repeat the fragment from a textbook and tell you something about antibodies lymphocytes or whatever. It's just a social problem, religion, politics, conspiracists, "dont tread on me", freedom speech, and more ideologies are all entangled in this.

Sometimes extremism (forcing to take the vaccine) leads to other kind of extremism (refusing to take it). Then some may start calling those who don't take the vaccine ignorant...

Okay this is getting too long... . I'm not saying education isn't one of the solutions (But what kind of education?) :)

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Hello
let's see some parts of your comment

I wouldn't say it's ignorance, or history repeating itself (maybe it is). Even so, Brazil has more % of their population with full vaccinated than a lot of "more educated countries", I think they're one of the top countries with more people vaccinated. It's really a difficult subject.

You are correct, Brazil has a good % of their people full vaccinated, and this is thanks to the culture of the country of adopting vaccines. And probably, Oswaldo Cruz the guy cited in this post was one of the people that influenced that. The Vaccine Revolt occurred in a regional way only happening in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and the legacy of Oswaldo Cruz has lasted until now in the country. He was the first director of the vaccine production facility and it is also associated in starting the production of yellow fever vaccine in the country for example. The brazilian vaccine culture is something very stabilished, kids receive the first vaccines when they are born and it is not optional, like in other countries like Canada and the US ( probably Europe too ). I had two childs one in Brazil and another one here in Canada. The first one it was in the schedule of the post born schedule, they took my baby and gave the Hepatitis B shot and the BCG (for tuberculosis, which is in the vaccination schedule in the country). For my child in Canada, I didn't know, but I had to tell the nurses that I wanted to give the shot that they offered in the hospital and signed a term that I was agreeing with that. The video about the revolt was made by the Oswaldo Cruz Institution, by coincidence, the institution where I studied. My goal wasn't to compare the vaccine revolt and the COVID vaccination in Brazil, despite of the president was totally against in the beginning saying that if you take pfizer vaccine you would turn into a crocodile. I don't like him not only for that, I didn't like all his measures in the last 4 years, including the cut in science. Since you mentioned about the vaccine in the pandemic, in Brazil, the only problem was another thing associated to the culture: tons of self prescribed medicine. Here we go for the next part:

And I don't think it's about education or what ever. People just trust their doctors (or science) in most places, there's respect for them. There's also respect for authorities in a time of crisis.

People respect more the doctors than the authorities. For some cultural reason, people all over the world have Medical Doctors on another level. They have a huge responsibility of saving lives. But they are humans, and like any profession, there are good and bad ones. Like I said before title in my post a title doesn't mean anything. The problem is if two doctors are saying two different things who do you trust? Even for a regular thing. For example, my wife went to a gynecologist that made an ultrasound in her lab on her own and identified a polyp in her uterus. She had already had in her hands a recent exam that didn't identify that. She went to two other gynecologists, that said that the exam had nothing in there. The last one sent her to another exam, to check again, to a specialist in vaginal ultrasound, she inspected and came to the same conclusion nothing. So my tip is never to hear only one diagnosis for anything! two and three opinions are very good. But coming again for the problem that you mentioned about COVID vaccine, doctors aren't scientists, at least most of them that are found in the clinics. There are some that work in the university or research institutes, but most of them aren't.

I'm pretty sure most of us don't how a vaccine works, yes I can repeat the fragment from a textbook and tell you something about antibodies lymphocytes or whatever. It's just a social problem, religion, politics, conspiracists, "dont tread on me", freedom speech, and more ideologies are all entangled in this.

You don't need a textbook if there are lots of people around explaining how it works, so maybe people aren't going to say that mRNA vaccine modifies the DNA for example anymore. Before I left Brazil, I was teaching biology in a public school. At least in Brazil, the basic education is focused in preparing kids for the big test to enter the university, so there is a culture to give lots of content for memorizing so people absorb it and forget it after a while. I always tried to bring things that people are in contact in a daily basis, such as vaccines of course ( at that time no COVID yet), fight the culture that you need to take medication against viral infection (lots of antibiotics in the culture over there, luckily now I guess you need a prescription for antibiotics at least) and other things not also associated to the health of course. I don't know if all my students will remember forever about all lessons, but I know that some of them still remember about it, like I also remember about the vaccine revolt that I learned from history class.

Sometimes extremism (forcing to take the vaccine) leads to other kind of extremism (refusing to take it). Then some may start calling those who don't take the vaccine ignorant...
Okay this is getting too long... . I'm not saying education isn't one of the solutions (But what kind of education?) :)

If you have a crisis in the country like a big civil war, you have a state or emergency, sometimes the army goes to the street and locks people at home to avoid more casualties. In an event of a health crisis politicians need to take a decision about it, if there is something to avoid disease to spread they need to take an action. During the pandemic, some politicians were more conservative than others to see how the country would face pandemics. I am not a public health specialist, so I don't know which measures were right or wrong, but you can see that more conservative politics like Israel and Canada were behind countries like US and Brazil in the number of deaths /100k people (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality) that took too much time to react to the pandemics. What kind of education maybe you are referring what people are saying that there is mainstream science (supported by big pharmacological companies) and an alternative? That is a very confusing way that doesn't exist, people who believe in the flat earth or against that the human was already on the moon also believe in that. In the whole story of science, you have new hypotheses that contradict the mainstream way of thinking, and they are supported by experiments. In the story what happens is that the mainstream defenders continue to fight the proof and reject the person for a long time. People who bring that concept to the mainstream come with a hypothesis based on opinions with no results or scientific proof, or some weak results with no statistical basis. Let's go back to the topic that you brought about COVID vaccines, for now, we still don't know the future of the vaccines, we know that there is a new variant, which any vaccine available is not so much effective compared to previous variants, and we know nowadays that some vaccine brands are not as many effective compared to others at least with the earlier variants. Does any are bad to take it? if you are not sensitive to vaccines in general, it is pretty odd that you will have any problems, since in all vaccine history there are side effects and rare major side effects which are found also in the COVID vaccines now. I don't know if there is going to be a better vaccine in the future or if we just reached a point that maybe only the most affected population needs to take it, only time and new data will tell.
A good source of easy science you can find from https://carlzimmer.com/ , Carl Zimmer is a scientist writer that is dedicated to outreaching, he has good articles about science subjects. During the pandemics, he wrote a lot about the components, like virus biology, vaccines, treatments and etc ( I didn't read all of them).
Kurzgesagt is a project that brings lots of educative videos in many languages here is about side effects in vaccines:

Well for a long comment, a long answer! I hope that it brings you something new here.
Cheers,

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