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I.W.'s picture

What are the units of science?

I have been thinking a lot about how we can compare science and literature.  As a biology major I can only begin to compare two things if I feel that they are set up in a manner in which comparison will be meaningful.  If I am comparing things that are not equivalent to each other in their respective fields then the results are useless. When working across disciplines this becomes increasingly difficult, but there has to be a way.  What is the unit of science? I can pretty safely assume that the unit of literature is a single work, be it a novel or poem, but there is no such clean unit in science.  Should it be each new discovery? Each theory? Each scientist? Ultimately there is no clear answer, but rather than making me question science this train of thought has brought me back to the literature.  Literature doesn’t just consist of the works that a publisher has deemed sellable; those are just the ones that are given the best jumping point.  Even when a writer never shows anyone a poem or book that they wrote, it has still affected the manner in which they interact with the world.  For all that literature is created by man, it also has a great impact even on its own writers.  That single poem will go on to influence countless experiences of its writer.  How can we measure the effects of literature?  It is like that butterfly that everyone always takes about has having started a hurricane, the impact is entirely immeasurable. 

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