Friday, December 6, 2013

Science's internecine war : simplifying production science vs complicating impact science

A production scientist, indoctrinated by parents to keep things neat and tidy and to see things as neat-able and tidy-able , grows up seeing his or her job as a very simple one.

"Dig up uranium as cheaply and quickly as physically possible, full stop".

(And what happens afterwards is not any of their business.)

An impact scientist, raised differently, says wait a doggone minute, that uranium was lying beneath the earth's surface for millenniums, not disturbing the endless generations of humans living above it.

It wasn't lying there as a metal either - but bound together to some highly reactive (chemically reactive) compound.

Now the millions of tonnes of rock above the ore body has been disturbed, along with many underground water flows.

That highly reactive compound is now free in the air and water to tightly bind to other materials (maybe human livers) and the uranium metal will have many many diverse effects upon the world it has now been loosened into.

God, the production scientist whines, those impact scientists can make things seems so complicated !

They can do so, because that's the way things actually are.

Just as messy and as impossible to divorce from your day-job, as your or my extended family are impossible to divorce from our home life....

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