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Swetha Chandrasekar

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Student, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

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Is science just imagination in a straitjacket?

This week in my Bioelectricity class, we listened to an NPR interview with Frances Ashcroft. Ashcroft is a British scientist who made a discovery in 1984 that allows neonatal diabetes patients to take pills as insulin supplements instead of injections. In her interview, as she discussed her thoughts on the scientific process and developing her theory, she referenced a quote by Richard Feynman, is a renowned American theoretical physicist.
"Science is imagination in a straitjacket."
Many scientists would argue that science does not restrict imagination, but rather promotes it. How is it that a well renowned scientist and thinker like Feynman, could feel confined when seeking answers in science? Is science a vehicle for imagination or is it used to tie down imagination with facts? What experience could have caused him to have this opinion? Does science truly restrict the imagination as Feynman suggests, or is science a vehicle for imagination?


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    Feb 14 2013: Egg or Chicken puzzle? As human beings we imagine things and before the imagined can exist physically, we call this imagination. When the very thing is discovered at it appropriate time we call it science. For instance, before electricity was discovered by humans, people imagined what it would be to have such energy so in this case imagination can be said to have come first before science. On the other hand, imagination did not create science. Nature laws, energies such as electricity has always been there awaiting discovery. Simply put, science is always there, imagination is always there. We only imagine what we are prepared to handle at particular periods in our lives. Science does not restrict imagination and imagination does not create science.....

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