Friday, September 12, 2008

Elegant Science

The world is a weird and awesome place.

E and I went to the Perimeter Institute last week for a talk by world famous theoretical physicist and one of the best-known string theorists, Brian Greene. And some of the things he said about the way schools teach science resonated with me.

He told us that often when he is lecturing to 13 year olds they will come up after the talk and say, "Wow! Is this science?" Because the way science is usually taught is dry and boring. In fact, and I quote him here as he talks about what a student has learned by the time he or she finishes highschool physics for example,
"their studies will take them all the way up to the year................... 1688."

This means that all the new stuff that is being researched is not in the curriculum. He says the best way to deal with such an enormous failure to spark interest and curiosity in kids is to make sure that there be an ally track along with the regular physics (or math or chemistry) in school.

E was pleased with the talk which focused on his new book “Icarus at the Edge of Time”and even happier that he signed her copy of The Elegant Universe.

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