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Talk of The Nation at AAAS

NPR : Science Friday
is broadcasting from the AAAS meetings live, right now. Very interesting discussions on science and society. How much science literacy does the average person need? How do we prepare future scientists? Interdisciplinary approaches?


Parents are the first influence, and so is society. Where are the glamorous scientists on TV? CSI?

Star Trek doesn't teach science, but it does indeed have an effect on future science and it does glamorize science and exploration.

I've got to head off for a meeting, so tune in and listen to the show...NPR talk of the nation.

Comments

I loved listening to Science Friday every week when I used to work in a lab. PCR and cell culturing goes much faster that way :). Unfortunately, I've missed out the last 5 years since I've worked in the software industry, partially because I just don't have a good radio signal in the building.

Fortunately, good opportunities for public talks on science abound in the greater Boston area, and this weekend I was able to hear local author Alan Lightman read from his new book "A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit". Alan is best known for works including Einstein's Dreams, but this recent publication is a collection of essays written during that last 10 years that concern Alan's interest in bridging science with the humanities, told mostly in the first person. Among the questions following the reading, an audience member speculated that increasing demand for specialization in the sciences will ultimately lead to a lack of scientific peers in such narrowed fields, and therefore a breakdown of peer review, which is the primary mechanism for validating or rejecting scientific ideas or evidence. Alan first agreed that specialization will only increase, but he doesn't believe it will become so narrow that a lack of peers would inhibit the scientific process, although he did point out that there are some fields which have no more than 30 PIs through out the entire world. Alan went on to emphasize the need for interdiciplinary research to negate the adverse affects of specialization. Through this current work of nonfiction as well as previous fictional novels (my favorite is Good Benito), Alan Lightman strives to bring scientific ideas to the layman via literature.

( http://www.talkingtree.com/blog/index.cfm?mode=alias&alias=AlanLightman2005 )

On a related note, another local author and newpaper columnist, Chet Raymo, comes to mind. Chet also views the everyday world throught the scientific lens.