Kristin: As I stated in the social media workshop at the Inspiring Australia conference, science might not equate to interesting and it’s not necessarily inspiring as of itself. But it is when it’s put into the context of how we live, and it is when the complexity of the knowledge is not dumbed down.
Tuesday’s morning’s panel at the Inspiring Australia Conference featured Prof Iain McCalman, Dr Paul Willis and Dr Tony Peacock talking about things that are inspiring in Australian science. Prof McCalman told the story about Big History, describing how this approach helps to tie in all the fragments of knowledge to give us a map of those connections. It’s been developed into a wonderful resource which Prof David Christian from Macquarie University presented at this year’s TED. I don’t think David’s talk is up on the website yet, but it’s well worth seeking out and I’ll post it as soon as it’s available.
Updated 11 April: David Christan’s talk is now available and here:
Big History was just one of a series of talks and initiatives related to science and education unveiled at TED2011. And of course TED is renowned for exploring science within many of its session themes and speakers. But science not treated as an isolated discipline within that program.
Science needs to step up. I’ve had a day reflecting on why science out of the context of regulatory, strategic, market, investment and global competitiveness issues means that research remains in the lab and uptake is disappointing. And when science marks itself as special, and somehow beyond the role of of those policy issues or as a exclusive school subject, we fail to service the needs of the community. See Lambert & Grant in The Conversation if you need to understand how dire the situation is.
The last word on why thinking about science in the broader context is important, particularly for education, and why Inspiring Australia needs to think bigger, should go to she who is Year 2:
Don’t stick science in a ghetto. Make it part of life.