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The Motivation for Science: Must there be a “reason”

“Woods Hole days end” by Purpose is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Everyone possesses some measure of curiosity.  But, becoming a scientist requires an enhanced level of that innate quality.  However, some people decide to pursue science for reasons other than the deepening of knowledge.  When these other motivations, such as power or money, dominate the fundamental quest to know, does science mean as much? 

Perhaps the reasons we all do the things we do should be examined from time to time, if only to keep us honest to ourselves and to the idea of science.




Dr. David Cornelison has been working as an educator and scientist in Arizona and Missouri universities for the last 32 years. From 2010-2018, he was the head of the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Materials Science at Missouri State University. His research interests lie at the intersection of experimental condensed-matter physics and astrophysics, while his educational efforts have focused on outreach to the K-12 school system. Most of all, he believes in curiosity-driven learning in the sciences and all other fields.