The precarious balance between subjectivity and objectivity in science
I was a scientist just a few years out of graduate school when I had a career-altering experience speaking with a man in tears at a community workshop. A large cluster of wildfires had burned through his small, close-knit northern California town, and many residents were forced to evacuate their homes. They were worried that their properties would be unprotected in the time they had to stay away: firefighting resources were strained due to additional wildfires in other parts of the state. Emotions ran high for everyone as my colleagues and I presented our work on how houses burn during wildfires.