Why is science important? - project by Alom Shaha


“Happy is he who gets to know the reasons for things”. I wish this 2000 year-old statement from Virgil was enough to deal with the question that must plague teachers all over the world — “what’s the point of this?” But, as someone who’s just returned to the teaching profession after a seven-year break, I can assure you it’s not.

I teach at an inner city comprehensive school where science, as in all UK schools, is compulsory for all students up to the age of 16. As well as trying to get my students to understand electrical circuits or Newton’s Laws, I make an effort to convey to them that science is important, that it’s something worth doing for reasons beyond the need to pass exams. I’ve only been at the school since January, but in that time, the students and staff have made me feel welcomed and appreciated and I have been impressed with both my colleagues and my students. However, there are some students that I just can’t seem to get through to and that frustrates me.

Anyone who knows me will confirm that I wear my passion for science on my sleeve, but I don’t think that’s enough to convince all my students that science is important. Nor do I think, like some in my profession, that the importance of science is implicit in the courses we teach, that it will somehow seep into my students’ consciousness through the sheer number of hours they spend doing “science” at school.

So, I’ve started this film and blog project in which I want to ask the question “why is science important?” to people who feel the importance of science so deeply that they have dedicated their lives to it — working scientists, science writers and, of course, science teachers. I’m making a documentary, funded by The Wellcome Trust, and running this “collective blog” as I work on the film. Bits from the blog will appear in the film and bits of the film will appear on the blog. The idea is that the two will inform and enrich each other.

I’m hoping that this project will help me arrive at an answer to this question; an answer that speaks to readers of this blog, as well as my students, and convinces them that science is important. Furthermore, I want this project to reach people who don’t think science is important and convince them otherwise. I want it to demonstrate that science is absolutely crucial to the future wellbeing of our world, that its contribution to culture is as significant as that of music, art or literature and, most important of all, that a sound appreciation of science is vital to realising your potential as a human being. I want this project to make it far, far easier for any science teacher to be able to answer that inevitable question, ‘what’s the point of all this?”

So please take a look and, if you’ve got something to add, please get in touch.

Alom Shaha

visit the webpage of the project

Views: 10

Comment

You need to be a member of The International NanoScience Community to add comments!

Join The International NanoScience Community

Next partner events of TINC

We are Media Partner of:

Welcome - about us

Welcome! Nanopaprika was cooked up by Hungarian chemistry PhD student in 2007. The main idea was to create something more personal than the other nano networks already on the Internet. Community is open to everyone from post-doctorial researchers and professors to students everywhere.

There is only one important assumption: you have to be interested in nano!

Nanopaprika is always looking for new partners, if you have any idea, contact me at editor@nanopaprika.eu

Dr. András Paszternák, founder of Nanopaprika

Publications by A. Paszternák:

The potential use of cellophane test strips for the quick determination of food colours

pH and CO2 Sensing by Curcumin-Coloured Cellophane Test Strip

Polymeric Honeycombs Decorated by Nickel Nanoparticles

Directed Deposition of Nickel Nanoparticles Using Self-Assembled Organic Template,

Organometallic deposition of ultrasmooth nanoscale Ni film,

Zigzag-shaped nickel nanowires via organometallic template-free route

Surface analytical characterization of passive iron surface modified by alkyl-phosphonic acid layers

Atomic Force Microscopy Studies of Alkyl-Phosphonate SAMs on Mica

Amorphous iron formation due to low energy heavy ion implantation in evaporated 57Fe thin films

Surface modification of passive iron by alkylphosphonic acid layers

Formation and structure of alkylphosphonic acid layers on passive iron

Structure of the nonionic surfactant triethoxy monooctylether C8E3 adsorbed at the free water surface, as seen from surface tension measurements and Monte Carlo simulations