Without Science You Would Not See This Short-eared Owl Photo

/, Box Elder County, Short-eared Owls, Utah/Without Science You Would Not See This Short-eared Owl Photo

Short-eared Owl chick tilting its headShort-eared Owl chick tilting its head – Nikon D810, f10, 1/500, ISO 320, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Without science you would not see this Short-eared Owl chick photo. You are here viewing it through a device using an internet connection to connect to a page housed on a server. Without computer scientists there would be no devices, no internet, no server. Without science there would be no code to arrange all the tiny pixels this image consists of in the precise way it needs to be arranged so that you can see it on your device.

Without scientists my camera would not exist. Without scientists and engineers working together my digital camera couldn’t connect and “talk” to my lenses and they have to in order to function properly. Without science there wouldn’t be a sensor in my camera to capture the light and convert what I saw through my viewfinder into the image that you see here. Without scientific calculations the glass in my lenses could not be ground to the exact specifications needed to bend the light to land on the sensor to create what I saw through my view finder.

I am grossly over simplifying all of the science that goes into making a single digital image because honestly I don’t understand it all but I know that there are scientists and engineers who do.

Without science and engineers working together I would have had to walk or ride a horse 90 miles to get this image. I wouldn’t have gotten to the location where I found this owl without the science behind automotive transportation or even the science and engineering it takes to build a highway.

Without science I wouldn’t have been able to look up the weather forecast the day I took this photo which told me it was going to be bright and sunny and that forecast was the reason why I drove to where I did to find this subject and photograph it.

Without science I wouldn’t know as much about my subject, this Short-eared Owl chick, as I do. Or any of my subjects really.

Without science I might have died in 1996 without Arthur Nobile,  a microbiologist, who in the 1950’s discovered how to isolate and produce prednisone and without that scientific discovery I may have succumbed to an auto immune attack on my heart called pericarditis caused by Systemic lupus erythematosus. Those nasty tasting pills created by science probably saved my life or I wouldn’t have been where I was last May to see and photograph this Short-eared Owl chick. Many of us might not be alive today without scientific advancements in the field of medicine.

The amount of science that is behind the creation and display of just this one image is absolutely mind blowing. But we/I don’t often stop to think about that.

Without scientists where would we be? You might wonder why I am writing today about the science behind my images. It is because scientists in the U.S. have come under attack recently and I want to do my small part in supporting them by showing that without science my images wouldn’t be taken, displayed or viewed. Science is with us every day of our lives. The people that really need to think about science and how it makes our lives better every single day are the ones that discredit it, impede it, malign it and pooh pooh it.

Life is good. I can say that today and every day thanks to a scientist.



  1. Vicki Rogerson January 26, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Yes! I look forward to voting scientists into political office, and supporting their voices while we are in this time of turmoil.

  2. S. Hansen January 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Science in the form of medicine saved my life 74 years ago. I love my arsenal of digital photographic equipment. But there is (always) another side to human intelligence and initiative. Science has given us the capacity for nuclear disaster. Without science we would not have microplastic pollution rendering our aguifers and oceans increasingly unfit for human or wildlife consumption and habitat. We would not have the worldwide rise of racist rightwing populism without the technology (AI, automation) that is eliminating jobs, not just in lights-out manufacturing, but for taxi drivers, doctors, accountants, clerks – you name it. Science is not good or bad. It is like nature.

    Honest science, based on fact is absolutely essential to our survival. Alternate facts based on self interest will not work. We as humans have to be smart enough to figure out how to share and redistribute this planet’s resources to support life not just for humans, but for all the living things with whom our future is so inextricably intertwined. Walls won’t work. Hate won’t work. Denial won’t work. The disparity between the haves and have-nots has never been worse. That won’t work either. Humans are capable of so much better.

  3. Elephant's Child January 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    And science is to be shared. Not hidden. Please not hidden, dismissed and discredited.

  4. Utahbooklover January 25, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Love that curious look on the Short-eared Owl chick. As a retired Clinical Labotory Scientist who also benefited from prednisone in 1976 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I can appreciate your medical miracle. Thankfully my RA went into remission about a year later, after making a lot of big decisions and changes that reduced my stress level.

    More recently I was diagnosed with polycythemia vera (mutation that causes the bone marrow to produce too many RBCs). The old treatment was to bleed the patient regularly to reduce the RBCs to a normal level. Now there is a drug (hydroxyurea) that I take daily to inhibit the bone marrow, which has been free of side effects, unlike prednisone, and I thank the scientist who worked out this alternative therapy.

    • Utahbooklover January 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Rereading revealed an iPad typo on la.bor.a.tory, or as we Americans say, lab.ra.tory or just plain lab for short.

  5. Esther January 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    As a retired prof of ecology/botany thank you for your message. All of the scientists I’ve personally known are dedicated individuals who work long research hours so we can better understand and protect all life. They need everyone’s support in these trying days.

  6. Patty Chadwick January 25, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Science has saved my sorry hide, too– and continues to do so every minute of ever day…I’ve had a heart attack, cancer and diabetes…daily doses of “science” keeps me going…of course, there are many, many more things to be grateful to and thankful to science for…far too numerous to name! I wish there was some way to acknowlege and thank scientists- especially in this incredibly obtuse time–when those in power, who should be embracing and supporting it, are instead greedily and ignorantly trying to discredit both science and scientists….

  7. Liz Cormack January 25, 2017 at 7:35 am

    We take science & technology so much for granted that we don’t stop to think of where we would be without them. And I too would not be alive is it wasn’t for science & technology. Love the owl chick photo, by the way.

  8. Maryk January 25, 2017 at 7:27 am

    It is amazing isn’t it. Without science we wouldn’t know the oceans are absorbing more heat and are becoming more acidic in places, killing coral reefs, which can tolerate temperature change of only a degree Celsius or so. And without science we wouldn’t have antibiotics like penecillin, and childhood survival rates would plummet.

  9. Roger Burnard January 25, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Well said Mia, well said… ;-))

  10. Grace Dunklee Cohen January 25, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Bravo, Mia for your call-out to our outstanding scientists and engineers! We are ALL indebted in so many ways to their great and small, simple and complex discoveries, improvements and inventions. I often think of how things that I rely on in my daily life came to be, from food and clothing to my photo gear, to the technology in my office, car and back pocket. Mia – you’ve given a compelling example here!

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