What is science looking for?

How were the windows formed? How did the trees form? How did the nails form? Leaving aside a disturbing choice of verb that I may be to blame for saying that I study how galaxies form, those are three of the questions my five-year-old daughter has asked me before going to sleep. There are many more and I have no answers for almost any of them. I would like to think that this is how scientific vocations arise: wondering about everything, wanting to know everything, marveling at everything around you, big or small, useful or insignificant, looking at the universe with innocence and enthusiasm and letting it surprise you. But is this what really motivates scientists? In part, yes, but there are other reasons…

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