To My Dearest Scientist – Review the Free Radical by Michael Brooks

To My Dearest Scientist – Review the Free Radical by Michael Brooks

Dear you

When I saw you graduated and got your PhD in Applied Physic at your age of 20 something, I was so proud. You are closer to your biggest dream, to become a professor and win the Nobel Prize. You had been a scientist; you love science so much. I remember the time you showed me a drip of water on a hot pan that can dance following the music, you were explaining passionately and I was like … eh… okay… it was interesting but I just did not have any clue how it happened. My physic was love in Tennis, zero by number. Well, don’t blame me, blame to the most un-interesting teacher I had in highschool because I was one of the best in physic and biology during junior high. Nevertheless, I believed you will get what you wanted, a Nobel Prize.

Years past, I knew you were struggling with your experiments and live as a scientist. Just like the Free Radical said, scientist struggling with ethics, and funding, yet, fame that pushed them so hard to be creative whatever it takes, a radical one, an anarchist they become. Scientist just like an artist, the book says, some of them took drugs, hallucinogen to get them to the creative phase of thoughts. Others believe a spirit in a name like magic for Einstein or God for Faraday and Galileo that had guide them to their discovery. Ethic, what ethic? Law and ethic cannot follow science, curiosity, the excitement for discovery, the creativity. And if all scientists must follow ethics, then there is no discovery at all!  they broke the law and ethic, experimenting things on themselves, cut themselves, breath dangerous gas, drank bacteria, diving to reach the human limit, in other to find truth of their hypothesis. Barry Marshall said “there is an occasion where it is more easy to forgive than to get permission,” on his diary before he drank a bottle of bacteria to find the effect of spiral bacteria.

Scientists are not always an idealist person. To survive they might sell their soul to the funding, and broke the ethic. In the book, there is a story of a scientist (I forgot his name) must do what the funding want, to proof that MMR vaccine does cause a behavior chance like autism. He took blood sample of boys in his son birthday, which is very un-ethical, but then he must admit that he didn’t find what the funding want. Another point that interested to me is the fact that you, the scientist has to be an activist in the name of humanity, be political. Carson, biologist who found that the pesticide with DDT is harmful to ecosystem, killing bird, butterfly and bees, she was alone in a fight against the pesticide companies. Then Rowland and Molina who found that CFC was killing our atmosphere, they were banned for giving any lecture for a decade, or Hansen who found spoke out loud about the green-house effect to climate change and being arrested for giving protest. I love the quote from Michael Nelson of Michigan State University “When scientists rejected advocacy as a principle, they reject a fundamental aspect of their citizenship… and rejecting one’s responsibility as a citizen is unethical.” Michael Brooks closing his book with some interesting statements that if we want more scientific progress, we need to release more rebels, more outlaws, more anarchists. The time has come to celebrate the anarchy, not to conceal them.

The book touches my heart as it reminds me of you. While reading it, my mind wandering, how radical you were, are you an anarchist one, how funding had made you feel, how is your road to Nobel Price, etc.

I knew one thing, and I have to admit that it broke my heart when I found that you are working as a Finance Manager at one of the biggest transportation company in the world. I was devastated, and I knew you were more devastated than I did. I understand you have your own reason, and I assumed not dare to ask that it was not an easy decision to take. But life is a journey, and in one of those journey you might find your way back to your biggest dream, a Nobel Prize. Nevertheless, getting a Novel Prize, in my believe, not supposed to be the end goal of a scientist, but how to make a better place for a human being does. A friend said once you are a journalist, you are always be a journalist, I believe it applies to a scientist too… you will always be a passionate person to discover something, a good observer, doing experiment, curios all the time, and you might do anarchy things in a certain point of life to proof that you are right.

Until then…. Be happy and enjoy your life!

Huge hug

Your dearest friend



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