40+FAB Blog

From theory to practical

Back in secondary school, chemistry was one of the science subjects I least liked especially when it came to trying to resolve how chemical reactions were calculated in theory. It was hard and it didn’t make too much sense.

We were then introduced to the lab where we had to prove what we had learnt about chemical reactions on paper. I remember being excited about mixing different liquids that either changed colour or became hot or very cold, it was like magic. A few students exploded a test tube or two by not following the mixing instructions as dictated by the theory we had learnt in class. It turned out that some students loathed these labs, but they loved the classroom work.

It became clear to me that even though the theory could be boring and sometimes difficult to get our heads around, it is a sound guide to direct how we deal with the elements we face in the practical world. It gives us a frame of reference to make us more precise in the real world. You can’t separate the theory form the practical, and vice versa. They go hand in hand to deliver to us the results we want.

Now, I try to pay attention to what the theory might be in whatever field I find myself. I know it doesn’t exactly mirror the real world which is imperfect and sometimes unpredictable, but it sure goes a long way in setting the right expectations and guides us on how best to move forward.