Science has a subjective aspect to it.
Science and scientific research are normally considered to be objective, yet, there are also subjective aspects: Scientists decide what they take for being granted, they decide which data are relevant and which are an artefact. Subjective is not to be confused with arbitraryness.
Stories where this aspect plays an important role are:
- The dutch physician Christiaan Eijkman is trying to cure people from a strange illness. Beri-Beri was known in the dutch colonies for a long time, but researchers were unable to identify the cause for the disease. The history of finally understanding cause and effect of Beri-Beri is far from being straightforward.
Eijkman and Beri-Beri
- Irene Joliot-Curie and her husband Frederic missed at least twice the chance to report a new discovery, which, when reported by their adversaries, won those a Nobel Prize. In 1935, their accurate observation skills finally earned them a Nobel Prize of their own, when they presented how man was able to generate new radioactive elements.
Joliot-Curie and artificial radioactivity
- The Bavarian War Secretary Benjamin Thompson has to solve the problem how to feed his army as economically as possible. But potatoes, which could provide the solution to this challenge, had a bad reputation at that time.
Rumford and nutrition
- The sheer multitude of chemical elements is very challenging to chemists in the 19th century. They ask themselves, whether there are still yet undiscovered new elements. A Russian solves part of the mystery with an interesting approach.
Mendeleev's Periodic Table of Elements