Discovery in science
NPR’s Fresh Air’s interviews have some gems in them. On Sept 27th, Terry was interviewing British scientist Frances Ashcroft about her study of proteins. Ashcroft described discovering the protein that causes neonatal diabetes:
I was looking to see this tiny pore close in response to an increase in the sugar concentration in the solution around the cell. And, so I was recording these tiny little electrical currents and hoping that they would go away. And when they did go away, I actually thought that there was something wrong with the experiment. I didn’t at the time realize that what I had predicted might happen had happened.
So, it wasn’t until I took the sugar away again and the tiny little current blips came back that I realized, actually, this was what had happened. And I was unbelievably excited! I don’t think people realize the excitement of being a true discoverer.
That’s one of the wonderful things about being a scientist. There are no new places to discover on this Earth, but there are many, many new ideas to discover, new things to find out about the way the world works, and for me that’s the incredibly exciting thing about being a scientist.
Isn’t that spectacular?
I love science.