Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Academics

The Stranglehold on Scientific Inquiry

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MUJ chapter.

In academia, “publish or perish” is an ever-present mantra that scientists must adhere to. With many countries withholding funding for scientific research and a lack of public investment, the primary impetus for scientific endeavors often stems from private investment by businesses, thus rendering scientific ventures subject to capitalist control, driven by profit. This scenario detrimentally impacts the quality of science we pursue and uncover.

Scientific inquiry reached its zenith during World War II and its aftermath, yielding numerous groundbreaking discoveries across various disciplines. However, since then, progress has somewhat plateaued. While several factors contribute to this stagnation, including the increasingly complex technological requirements for future endeavors, the capitalist system has undeniably exerted a profound influence.

Many esteemed scientists, including Higgs, have expressed doubts about their ability to make similar discoveries in the contemporary environment. The reality is that scientific breakthroughs do not materialize through a linear progression of exciting new research but rather through the sustained efforts of scientists, who may labor fruitlessly for months or even years before stumbling upon significant findings.

Yet, in the current milieu, researchers are pressured to churn out papers incessantly and maintain audience engagement with their work to secure sufficient funding for survival. This constant demand serves as a considerable impediment to the brilliant minds striving to unravel the mysteries of the universe. They find themselves compelled to misrepresent their research, presenting false impressions to garner attention and funding.

A notable instance of this phenomenon occurred on December 1, 2022, when the journal Nature published a cover story on a purported holographic wormhole, sparking widespread internet fervor. However, the purported breakthrough was merely the result of mathematical calculations representing the concept of a wormhole, rather than actual creation.

This deception illustrates a pervasive issue within capitalism, where products are often misrepresented to maximize their market value. Under this system, innovation takes a backseat to the art of exploitation. While these criticisms may appear harsh, the tangible repercussions of such practices are glaringly evident in our world.

A viable solution lies in governments allocating more substantial funding to scientific research, thereby dignifying the profession of being a scientist and alleviating the burdens scientists face in not only leading a fulfilling life but also pursuing their passion for unraveling the universe’s mysteries. Scientists serve as the true custodians of the universal laws, deserving utmost respect for the invaluable contributions they make to our understanding of the world.

Varun Sivanesan is the part of the junior working team at her campus at Manipal University Jaipur chapter. While there is no constraint on what kind of articles he writes, there is a large emphasis on pieces against various forms of human rights violations and systemic oppressions and in favour of improving the social security safety nets of oppressed classes. He has an open mind to new ideas and has a keen interest in world history and its geopolitics, sports, movies, maps and other vast diverse forms of entertainment