Science requires both imagination and discipline.
That combination makes science education challenging and enjoyable, but also critical during this era of rapidly advancing technology.
Who will invent and investigate the innovations leading to healthier and longer lives, greater comforts and convenience, efficient and effective employment?
Perhaps those innovators will be among the students who participated in last week's 29th annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair hosted by Lincoln University.
About 60 high school and 75 middle school science projects were showcased at the event.
Scientific investigation is based on curiosity, typically germinated by a question - How does this work? I wonder why ...? What would happen if ...?
The scientific process, however, requires discipline. Variables must be eliminated; facts must be verified; theories must be proved.
Science also teaches a valuable life lesson about measuring success.
After devoting much time and energy to a science project, the results were inconclusive for Jefferson City High School sophomore Radeheya Naik.
Rather than deem the project a failure, he emphasized what was learned. "Any contribution is better than nothing," he said. "At least we know this didn't work."
In addition, the process sparked added curiosity, questions and potential approaches.
We appreciate science educators and science fair organizers for providing encouragement and opportunities for inquisitive investigation.
The imagination and discipline employed by students today may bring about breakthroughs of tomorrow.