I used to think that I didn’t like science.
My parents, seed corn farmers in rural Ontario (Canada), built model rockets with me, gave me puzzles (taking electronics apart was sometimes a family activity), taught me to ask for proof, and patiently responded no matter how many times I asked why. They raised me to think scientifically, but I never even noticed – to me, that was just what thinking was. From school, I thought that Science was something else, a cold, ugly body of knowledge, a bunch of books filled with facts about the world. I could not have been more wrong.
Drifting further and further from science I made a lot of short films. People liked them (especially jurors of film contests), and I eventually went to school for New Media Arts at Ryerson University, but I always felt something was lacking. I even switched to Wilfrid Laurier University for Communication Studies, but always thought that too much of what was being taught was just opinions – and I wanted evidence.
It wasn’t until I read Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene the summer before my third year, when I realized that science was a way of thinking, a beautifully simple method for developing an understanding of how the world works. This definition of science had never been effectively communicated to me before. So, I decided to take the first year biology course for fun. I hadn’t taken a science course since physics in grade 10 (when my teacher used to make me run laps), but I managed to swoop in under the radar and get into the course without the prerequisites. There was a bit of a learning curve, but I quickly realized that science was for me.
A few years have gone by since then, I’ve finished my degree (a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, with a Communication Studies minor), worked in a few research labs studying plants, finished an M.Sc at the University of Guelph studying renewable energy, published some research articles, and now I’m in Vancouver educating young minds about science at BrainBoost Education (and previously at Science World). With my now fully-embraced love of science combined with my previous life as a communicator, I’m here to try and facilitate the spread of science – because I believe that a more science-literate world is a better one. In my spare time I write science fiction (always aiming to be accurate on the science), and tweet frequently with hashtags like #SciComm and #SciChat from the handle @kurtisbaute. That’s my name, by the way, Kurtis Baute.