Especially in this day and age, science is pretty damned expensive.
For a long time, science was a hobby for royalty and the wealthy, unattainable to most of the lower classes of society. Even after the industrial revolution most couldn’t afford to science unless they has some kind of access to lab equipment. And even in the age of cheap products and hi-tech, innovative techniques, much less actual science, can cost a pretty penny to start up. Like the 3D printer needed for this idea.
But the world of science is changing. Same as other aspects, the equipment needed is becoming cheaper or innovative scientists are finding extremely low cost ways to make things. Like this gentleman that’s created a paper centrifuge for blood analysis, as well as a microscope from paper. Or a sun-powered water purifier for a couple of bucks. Or the well-known Sally Centrifuge.
Frugal science is just getting its start in the world. I honestly can’t wait to see what frugal and brilliant minds come up with next. Possibly lost cost spectrometer? Or maybe a DIY build for a tricorder? Maybe even cheap space satellites?
It also gives us writers a great scientific basis to work from. How many of us wanted to tackle a medical emergency is a dystopian or isolated plot, but had no idea how someone could diagnose a pathogen in an extremely low tech environment? Or how to check the soil for toxins in a post-nuclear world? What about that lonely group of survivalists that must find out just what kind of sickness is ravaging their people?
A solid start on low tech methods made brought science to the glorious stage that it’s currently at. Innovation will make science easier for all to access in short order. And, in the event of calamity in a plot, can probably save a protagonist or two with a little help from a little charcoal paper and a string.
Author of LGBT romance and speculative fiction.