1. Scientists are just like novelists in a way. We’re all trying to tell a good story that explains how the world works and we’re interested in understanding how it works in exactly the same way that perhaps the early philosophers were. But we have much better tools with which to dissect it and understand it today. And the thing about science is it’s always based on the facts. So if facts change and you discover new ones or many more new facts don’t fit the old ones, then you have to change the story. That’s how major scientific revolutions happen, as, for example, when people suddenly realized that the earth goes around the sun. So science is indeed a theory. But I really like what the very famous American physicist [Richard] Feynman said. He said, ‘Science is imagination in a strait jacket’. We are constrained by all the things which we already know, so you can’t simply conjure a story out of the air. It has to explain all the current facts and the new ones that have just been discovered. And it has to make predictions that can then be tested to see whether in fact that story continues to hold when we know even more information.

    Frances Ashcroft on how science and scientists work

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