Week 7: Hoping Against Hope

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Megan Anderson

Step into the shoes — or, rather, lab coat —of a scientist. You’re passionate about reality. You deal in facts and figures. You’re allowed the luxury of hope only insofar as it agrees with reason and research.


At least that’s what you tell yourself.


The world tends to see you as someone who is objective, neutral, and perhaps even a tad ‘cold’. Though people may never know you or your work, you work in an elevated position; you’re been placed on the pedestal of rationality, sacrificing comfort for the high ideals of scientific knowledge. You can’t help but enjoy your view from up here. You want to live up to it.


But you and I both know that this is not the full picture.


People do not belong on pedestals.

Scientists deal with more than data.

Like it or not, we all have feelings as well as thoughts.

(Believe me or not, we are all better because of it.)


So, sometimes, when no one is looking, you let yourself hope against hope.



Would you like some evidence? (I know, silly question—you’re a scientist, you LOVE evidence with every neuron in your left brain.)  


Meet with the one congressman who has his Ph.D. in Physics. He joined the political world hoping against hope. A country is a very difficult thing to manage.


Capitol group photo 


Visit NASA Goddard. Arrive on a day when all the researchers showcase their work. As you bask in the glow of these bright people, see how they hope against hope. The universe is a very large thing to understand. 



Eat brunch at a vegan restaurant. Order anything you like since your dairy allergy is inconsequential here. See a food movement that hopes against hope. Animal cruelty and climate change are very complicated issues to address.

Fare well cafe 


Walk around the mall. Spend time with the friends you’ve made this summer. Hope against hope that it will last.


Capitol building  


Now take a moment to read the following quote by Dr. Robert Hutchings:


It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.


If these are the thoughts of the “Father of Modern Rocketry,” then maybe hope is more integral to science than we tend to think.




I hope against hope that yesterday’s dreams are worthy of tomorrow’s reality.

Megan Anderson