Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beautiful, inspiring science

A visit to the Science center with the children always leads us to mixed reactions. Sure, its fun for the kids to bang pots and pans, to see high quality omnimax movies, and robots that move left and right - but Science, as a whole is moving to he microscopic, and as a Scientist, I know how hard it is to demonstrate Science to kids. Try hosting a stall as Xperiment and you'll find out that it is hard to bring the lab to the world, simply because the bench to bedside of an invention is difficult. And when the invention does go to the bedside, it somehow is not Science anymore, it is an industry. I mean, you wouldnt be very impressed if the Science center displayed a personal computer, a television, a lightbulb or a phone. Yet they are very important inventions, and a lot of Science and research went into them. Nor would you be impressed if they displayed MRI images of the brain, a sample of radium, or a molecule of anti matter. While these are important, impressive things, they simply dont make impressive displays.

Recently, i read an article called Zooillogical. In the same way, the promotion of Science is somewhat illogical. It is therefore very nice to see this newsarticle about how a group of primary school children published high quality research work.

As parents of children who are also Scientists, how can we encourage children to ask questions, and teach the methodology of finding the right answer? Infact this is what Science is about. Not classifying objects, or making robots. Its rigorous methodical study of a problem. And the Science center and any outreach work has to impart to the children this art. the asking of questions, the research and the experiments needed to find out the answer.

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