“Science cannot do everything on its own.”
Jordi Pereira Marie (Ibiza, 1990) Graduated in Mechanical Engineering and devoted his life to publishing since launching his blog and YouTube channel. sofa flagIt tries to convey scientific concepts in a simple and fun way. Having received many awards in this field, his media activity has led him to work in the science departments of many large media outlets as a writer, editor and science consultant, in addition to publishing several titles with Paidós; the last, A guide to surviving in space.
– The title of the book A guide to surviving in space. Is it some kind of warning? Are we doomed to disaster?
No, I hope not (laughs), because as much as life gets worse on our planet, the Earth will be more habitable than any other celestial body in our solar system. So, in principle, if this guide is useful to anyone, it will probably take several hundred years from now.
– Is there a low level of education in Spanish society? Is it due to lack of interest?
– In general, science does not arouse the interest that I think it should arouse among the population. We live in a world where we rely so much on technology and science in our daily lives that they have given us the devices with which we communicate, modern medicine that allows us to live longer, and agriculture that allows us to feed so many people. All this is a result of scientific progress and it gives me the impression that people don’t know enough about science compared to what affects us. It is true that there is a lack of interest, but it may also be because science is so difficult to explain in a fun way that learning about science is seen more as a kind of entertainment than as an obligation or a daunting task. This is what we try to do in awareness.
How do you arouse interest in science? Is it promoted in schools?
– I don’t know what the current curriculum is in schools. I suppose every teacher, every center deals with it differently. I think the best thing is to give a more practical approach to science, to try to transfer all these theories, these scientific concepts, into real life. Our daily life is full of examples.
Does scientific ignorance explain misinformation?
– By and large, yes. There are times when people are misled because they want to, because a particular trick fits their ideology, or because they want to see the world that way for some reason. Someone with no scientific training or no interest in science is more likely to fall into the net of some charlatan to sell him a ridiculous idea, than someone with such an interest or training.
Do social networks cause a lot of harm?
– It’s a tool that can do a lot of damage, because it greatly favors the spread of hoaxes around science, but at the same time there are people who are dedicated to fighting these hoaxes on these networks. It’s a bit frustrating as a publisher to see the ease with which scams are created and spread and the amount of effort it takes to reject them and then not share them. Fortunately, most people trust science.
What scientific evidence is still suspicious?
– In the field of genetically modified genes and genetically modified agriculture, there is a lot of ignorance in general because genetics is a tool that has great potential to help us in the event of this climate crisis, crops can be created that withstand drought conditions much better. It’s a topic that usually generates quite a bit of controversy among the general public and I think it’s due in large part to a lack of knowledge of the science behind it. GMOs have bad press, but I think it’s undeserved: I’m not an agronomist, they’ll have their questionable stuff, but they’ve proven to be a safe and effective technology.
What are the most successful topics?
– I usually deal with astronomy, geology and chemistry. In my case, astronomy topics and interesting stuff usually work well, but in the end, the promotion has a thousand branches and every famous person will tell you that they have some favorite topics.
Are there phenomena still far from science?
In astronomy, this happens a lot. Black holes, for example, are a type of ultra-extreme celestial body in which the laws of physics cannot describe what happens in the center of these objects. In this sense, there are many things where there is still enough information to be able to unravel how it works, but the good thing about science is that the more evidence you accumulate, the closer you get to the truth. I hope in the future we will end up deciphering these kinds of unknowns.
– In the future with scarce resources, such as water, with rising fuel and food prices… What is the role of science?
Science will help us, as it already does, discover new ways to produce energy that does not emit carbon dioxide that will help us fight climate change. Wind energy, solar energy, nuclear energy, hydropower … are ways that allow us to generate a lot of energy with a very small carbon footprint, and new methods will certainly appear in the future. Also, as I mentioned, the science applied to agriculture will help to continue to produce large quantities of food and feed future populations with an uncertain climate. Ultimately, in all areas that occur to us, science is gradually improving them, making them more efficient, respectful of the environment, and, in general, improving our lives.
Can science fix everything?
You don’t have to trust either. Science is the most powerful tool we have for trying to solve the problems that exist in the world, but there is also no guarantee that it will find all the solutions. In this sense, we should appeal a little to individual responsibility. I, for example, trust that we will succeed in mitigating climate change, and that we all combine our work, especially governments and companies, to some extent succeed in reducing its impact, but that does not mean that I as an individual also try to reduce the emissions that are produced as much possible. Science must be helped because it cannot do everything on its own.
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