Aside from taking up a few minutes of someone else’s time, what is the purpose of writing? More specifically, what place does scientific writing have in the life of a layman? This is a question that cannot be given a simple answer, because there is not simply one answer deserving of the question. In this post I will try my best to justify the reasoning and motivation behind this website.
As the photo below suggests, The Skeptical Chemist is a play on – or rather, a modern day translation of – ‘The Sceptical Chymist’, a book by the great Robert Boyle, known more familiarly as Mr. P1V1 = P2V2 for those who paid attention in high school chemistry class.
Lawrence Principe wrote in his Nature publication “In retrospect: The Sceptical Chymist”* that “Boyle believed that chemistry should be much more. For him, it was the key to understanding nature.” ‘The Sceptical Chymist’ was regarded as the key to understanding modern chemistry as more than just an adjunct to alchemy, sadly neither the book nor Boyle achieved this in their time.
It is therefore my lofty ambition to use this website both as an educational resource as well as tool to answer the first question, by drawing inspiration to succeed where ‘The Sceptical Chymist’ failed: to elevate the status of science, to free it from servitude to medical and commercial endeavors, and to use it for exploring and explaining the hidden workings of nature. Now doesn’t that sound grand and all.
tl;dr: Basically, this website will be a repository of fun, educational articles for everyone to enjoy, because we don’t need a reason to enjoy learning (ha!).
*Reference to doi:10.1038/469030a is licensed by Nature Publishing Group (License Number: 4067520038634)