Emotions & Science

Perhaps 99% of all scientific publications contain concise, abstract information. Unlike the social sciences, like psychology, the scientific literature leaves no space for feelings and emotions to be expressed within. Everybody tends to assume that science and emotions have nothing in common, but in my opinion this is not the case.

The few basic facts, questions or emotions below are things that any person performing some kind of research work may have experienced:

 Beginning of research : afraid of the unknown : What should I start with?

 First investigation : confusion : How can I find a solution to the problem? Is there a solution?

 Further investigation : desperation : How can someone know all this things? How or where to find a good idea?

 Further investigation : questionable self-confidence : Am I able to clarify this problem? maybe it's not possible.

After reviewing these emotional states that researchers are likely to experience, one can easily conclude that emotions are in fact part of the story. However, from my point of view, they are not just part of it but represent the main piece.

The beginning in research is likely to be motivated by genuine scientific curiosity. Browsing through the history of science we've learned that outstanding discoveries have been possible only if one had strong belief in his own ideas and was driven by a strong passion for science, always complemented by hard work. Who is to believe in our own ideas if not ourselves? If there is passion and belief, then it is just a matter of time and focus for us to reach our goals. One can explain this by invoking a virtual statistic rule which states that at least one out of ten scientific ideas is a valuable idea. Accordingly, we can make our objective to search for 9 wrong ideas and then, the next idea (the 10th idea) should be the good one. But the energy needed for searching for 9 wrong ideas comes exclusively from passion and belief. In fact, for real progress, maybe the most difficult thing to do is to search and find in ourselves these two important emotional ingredients ... if they are here, then the rest is just work. Personally, I found this 'emotional lesson' maybe more important in my research than any statistical method or computer resource.

Although science in general may come across as 'emotion-less', I believe it is a crucial task to include, to some degree, emotions in our science. I have the conviction that a lesson like this can not be taught, but must be learned .... there is a price to be paid, but it's all worth it.