Misconception about Science: Part Two

Today is the second day of the workshop Walking with Robots in Bristol. I’m currently sitting in the room, thinking of what to write down in order to continue the topic of my previous blog entry, together with all other editors of the New Media group. So I figured I’d give another small rant on misconceptions about science. The reason that I want to talk about it, is simply the fact that I personally think that it is a shame that not everyone knows about science — how much fun it can be. This blog is one of the opportunities for me to elaborate upon this issue, so I will take that chance today, early in the morning (yes, 11 am is early for me) without a cup of coffee (I don’t like coffee).

Now, what is science exactly? One could simply look up the definition in the dictionary, on Wikipedia, or whatever. For example, an online dictionary (http://dictionary.reference.com) says the following about science: “science is a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws” or “science is systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation”. That is a whole mouthful. No wonder people seem to think differently about it. Although it is quite shortsighted to conclude that fact based on the given definitions of science, it surely plays a role. Basically, what both definitions say is that science consists of knowledge, often gained through observations and experiments and this knowledge constitutes of facts about the world — the nature — around us. The new definition is now easier to read and to understand. When looking upon the easy definition, I can imagine people consider science as something really difficult, because the world around us is incredibly complex. We still have a lot of things to figure out about this world of ours.

However, although it is true that science is the big thing because of our world, it is also the smaller things that make it interesting, as I already mentioned in my previous blog entry. With everyday objects, small and fun experiments can be conducted. Especially children will love to know more about the little tidbits of life — of the world around them, because, by nature, children are always curious. The earlier this happens, the better, since their path of life is often determined by what they experience in the early stages of their life. I have noticed a change with respect to this aspect of life. Studies have shown that there is not only a gender gap in math, science, and technology — and the media have covered the topic relentlessly, about girls having noticeably less interest in those disciplines than boys — but children of nowadays, even boys, think of science as boring and are looking for different paths of career. Moreover, parents, teachers, and the industry as a whole, do not put enough effort in making science accessible and inviting to all. If they want to draw a variety of thinkers, then that is exactly what they must do, in my opinion.

This is my part of the rant for now. Stay tuned for the next part!


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