A fairly commonly-used moniker is the “pillars of something.” That is, the most important tools or principles or things that go into making some bigger thing what it is. Like science for example. A lot of people have said that the two pillars of science are Observation and Experimentation. Makes sense, right?
Well recently, thanks to the emergence of computers, we’ve had an explosion of data to observe, and hence an exponentially-greater number of experiments to conduct. With all those numbers and all that data, it’s getting hard for scientists to keep up with the observation and experimentation that constitutes science.
Enter the computer: the very thing that caused the explosion of data is what’s going to keep us riding the shockwave at light speed, into the future.
The way computers will keep us on top of things is through the third pillar of science: Modeling. We recently had the opportunity to interview someone who works in Bioinformatics, a relatively new field of science which specializes in using the third pillar of science in biology, for disease research and other things.
Models have always been how we explain complex ideas, visualize complicated equations, and make our findings readable. With all the super complex theories out there (like string theory or quantum locking for example) it’s really vital that we model all of them so they’re actually possible to understand.
Think of it this way: Observation lets you find the idea, Experimentation lets you understand the idea, and Modeling lets you explain it to others.
And what good is science if you’re the only one who understands it?
- Wired list: The 16 Best Science Visualizations of 2011.