The Reality of Science

In the novel Forty Signs of Rain Kim Stanley Robinson deliberately tries to de-stigmatize science by claiming that it is not boring. In class we discussed the excerpt found on page 89 that begins with “It could be said that science is boring…”. I personally have always found science to be boring and uninteresting because I could never relate to it. Although I am still not very interested with science after reading this novel, I can appreciate and understand the work that scientists do and what their jobs entail. Robinson succeeds in overcoming the generalizations made about science and shows the truth of what goes on behind close doors.

Robinson provides a realistic account of what a scientists’ everyday life is like. Often times people are unable to relate to science because they feel that scientists are above them or of a higher status, Robinson shows the reader that scientists live normal lives and are faced with problems like any other person. Specifically, Robinson makes the connection that like any worker in America, scientists also work hard in order to try and move up in their field. For example, Anna Quibler and her husband Charlie are a prime example of this. Not only does she work as a scientist, she is also a mother. Robinson emphasizes how Anna has to balance her career with her responsibilities at home to show how scientists have the same struggles as other people do. Charlie is a science advisor for a senator and he writes science legislation. In addition, he is a stay at home father. Robinson includes this family dynamic into the novel to disprove the reader’s generalizations about scientists. He shows how scientists can be both male and female and can have jobs that involve work outside the laboratory.

Therefore, I believe that Robinson is more successful in showing the reality of science than he is showing how science is not boring. After reading this novel, I have more respect for scientists. The characters in this novel show that to be a scientist you need great determination and patience. Moreover, scientists have to work as a team if they want to make any real progress. This can be applied to the larger concept of how we are dealing with climate change as a whole society. Yes it is true that we cannot fix this problem over night. However, we should adopt the mindset of scientists in that if we continue to work together as a team and take the necessary steps we will be able to make a difference.



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