Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Making mistakes count

Last week I gave my sophomore class a journal assignment to write their thoughts about the Quote of the Day which was:

You might enjoy the interesting thought process Qianwen wrote in her journal entry:

We students always make mistakes, though that way, we get to know in what field we need to improve. And as a result, we go forward, step by step. This situation can also apply to the science and technology field. 
Scientists make mistakes on the way searching for the truth. However, along the way, they may break up the ubiquitous laws found by ancient giants by chance. For instance, the leaning tower of Pisa experiment, the discovery of x-ray and positive corpuscle. What impressed us is that they stick to their own opinion rather than give into the authority. 
On the contrary, if there's no mistake and just follow the curren situation , the society can not develop. We may take ancient China as an example. We have the proud "Four Great Inventions" paper-making, printing, the compass and gunpowder during the early ancient time. However, when it came to the Min-Qing Dynasty, people have been beclouded by the ubiquitous satisfaction of "Celestial Empire" which resulted in no advancement at that time. Everyone obeyed the routine and nobody made mistakes. That may be one of the reasons that China lag henid during the 1900's.
The discovery made out of mistakes may not always the truth. But it is the thought and spirit of breakthrough that count, which is much more important than the discover itself.

BTW: I learned from one student's journal entry that gunpowder was discovered while they were looking for an immortality elixir the emperor requested, for which he would give a massive reward. And it's been fireworks ever since.

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