I had a rare opportunity to pursue a degree in Biochemistry at Purdue University, USA with a scholarship from the Malaysian government. An American undergraduate degree is typically a 4-year programme.
I first arrived in Australia to pursue my degree in biomedical science in Brisbane in 2007 and made a decision to start my PhD four years later. At the time, I was looking forward to conducting research, publishing papers and going to international conferences. I had also planned to thoroughly enjoy the best of Brisbane and to keep exploring down under. I had plans of flying to Melbourne in the winter for skiing, shopping in Sydney, diving the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, and hopping over to visit the ‘Middle Earth’ in New Zealand. To say the least, I was full of optimism and anticipation when I left for a short holiday in Malaysia before starting my PhD in Australia. But fate had other things to offer.
When I saw the release of the first batch of The Joy of x in bookstores a few years ago, I wanted to get the book immediately. Prior to that, I had enjoyed Strogatz’s 2003 bestseller Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life, based on his highly influential research on synchronized networks and the first in a series of books which subsequently cemented his reputation as one of the most popular mathematics writers of recent years.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman is a popular psychology book on decision making that walks the fine line between pop science chock-full of theories, and empirical findings from psychology experiments. Usually circulating only among academics and a niche group of unusually curious folks with an appetite for journal articles, many results from these psychology experiments do not make their way to the masses. This is unfortunate since everyone from entry-level executives to CEOs in the corporate world, for example, make decisions every day that are prone to biases.
There is a reason why the word ‘science’ appears in the term ‘science fiction’ (SF). Science plays a role at multiple levels of writing, from the story’s conception to the process of streamlining the plot. In this article we will explore how science is embedded in narrative structures, and conversely, how narrative structures can be used in science.