Toronto Science Festival: The Efficacy of Uncertainty

Searching for an aphorism to attract interest and beguile my audience is a pain in the @ss. I’m sure that an introduction is a worry most writers experience. But why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Why can’t readers have the balls to stick with a read past the first paragraph even if it doesn’t have some imaginative adage so cleverly complex that it…Leaves. One. Lost. And reaching for an explanation that would justify its ambiguity.

And so that’s how I am going to introduce my experience at the Toronto Science Festival that took place September 26th at UofT this year. It was thought-provoking, though mostly in the same way aphorisms are. Much like how we interact with aphorisms, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted from the experience, what to expect, or even if an expectation was reasonable considering it was the first of its kind.


‘Festival’…the application of the word in this scenario seemed a bit…inapprorpriate. It certainly didn’t possess the interactive quality festivals are known for or have the attractions and ‘showoffiness’, but (adhering to the historical self-important attitude that is found in high quantities in Toronto) the word was used anyway (I’m not afraid to say it was a conference).  What a good conference it was. Housed in convocation hall of the University of Toronto was a greedy crowd of curious scientific wannabe’s seeking the serenity that only the experience and information their demigods would provide. Yeah, I’m comfortable with ‘calling myself out’ on my pretensions of science. (If I can add) Tacitly science seems to be transforming into a dogma of its own.

The famous Curiosity rover was the object of much discussion by Jim Bell

The famous Curiosity rover was the object of much discussion by Jim Bell

But really, what underscored the conversations of Jim Bell and Julie Payette and Sean Carroll was the nature of science to promote curiosity and EXPLORATION; to facilitate experimentation and foster the desire to search, there’s a certain beauty in that. (I also found out (too late) that there was a great panel discussion, Oh man I would’ve enjoyed that). Though I’m sure science is privy to the interests and initiatives of politics I believe it only does so in so far as that activity helps it to “live to fight another day”. The global controversy that is ‘climate change’ is a clear example of how scientific discoveries can and will clash with government and private-sector prerogatives.

What I found part of the discussion by Payette, Bell, and Carroll was that their personal curiosities were a big contributor in shaping the organizational projects. Therein lies a piece of the truth – the fulfillment of curiosity is necessitated through the experience of conflict. I guess I did get my aphorism after all HAAA!


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