Sometimes it’s hard to understand why scientists do what they do. Why spend a career studying cells, fungus, or flies? Other than being nerdy and wanting to learn about our world, what’s the point?
Last month I had the opportunity to attend Sunposium, a neuroscience research conference hosted by the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in West Palm Beach, Florida. I love everything brain-related, so every talk was captivating for me, but through the jargon, methods, and neon images, an incredibly important message shone through: fundamental or basic research, research that asks fundamental questions about our world is critical to our society. The scientists who presented their research, including two Nobel prize winners and many other young researchers with promising careers, study everything from bacteria to birds to humans. The questions they ask aren’t about how to cure illnesses or treat disease. But the breakthroughs they have made will impact human health in the near future. Fundamental research is critical to science because it allows for unexpected and unpredictable breakthroughs.
Check out the infographic below to explore what I learned at this incredible conference.