Never stop exploring!
Tuesday 23rd February 2016
Blog written by Dr Melanie Windridge
What is so very wonderful about science is the opportunity to go out and explore, to learn something new, to keep asking “why?” We all have this desire in us during childhood – we love to explore and to try things. That’s how we learn. Yet somehow it is valued less as we get older.
As a scientific speaker in schools, I love to show the relevance of our scientific work. Some concepts at school can seem so abstract, sometimes pointless. But if you put several of these concepts together and show, for example, how scientists are trying to copy the process that powers the Sun in order to work out how we can create unlimited, clean ’fusion’ energy on Earth, then all these things we have to learn at school begin to have some meaning. To achieve this incredible solution to our energy problems is one giant exploration. Scientists are stepping out into the unknown and doing things that have never been done before. It is exciting.
Aurora – in search of the Northern Lights
Besides the lab, I like exploring in the outdoors too. It’s the same principle. I’ve been on some wonderful journeys, learning things along the way. I have just written a book on the Northern Lights, the beautiful light phenomenon that occurs in the upper atmosphere in the Arctic regions. I was learning about the mysteries of one of the most spectacular events on Earth, whilst travelling in the Arctic in summer and winter – from gritty, windswept camping in Iceland to frozen, minus 30 degree camping in Svalbard. It was varied, sometimes intense, always illuminating.
I hope the book will give people a better appreciation of science in nature, both the wonder of it and the importance of understanding our surroundings. Learning new things– in the outdoors and in the lab – is so important to our economic and social progress, so it’s vital that we all keep exploring. So get out there!
Dr Melanie Windridge is a plasma physicist, lecturer, writer… with a taste for adventure. She has a PhD in fusion energy and is Business Development Manager for fusion start-up Tokamak Energy, as well as working in education with the Ogden Trust, Anturus and Your Life.
Click here to watch Melanie’s recent video on The Importance of Exploration!
You can follow Melanie on Twitter @m_windridge