Making Science Cool: Inspiring Students and Giving Society Something to Celebrate
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schools. Leading scientists spoke at school assemblies describing the field they’re passionate about, the rewards and challenges of their own career path and the opportunities for young people in the sciences (dubbed the “Nifty Fifty” and “Lunch with a Laureate” ).
—Second, we brought students to major science venues throughout the county for hands-on interactive experiments in state-of-the-art research environments, which we dubbed “Science on the Mesa.”
—Third, we brought the public to a series of fun and informal science events with a fun and catchy hook (dubbed, collectively, “Festival Events” with offerings like the Science of Wine, Chemistry of Love, Science of Chocolate, Politics of Science, and 75 others)
—Finally, we brought everyone together in Balboa Park for a major science expo. For this “Woodstock of Science,” 250 organizations presented hands-on interactive activities, exhibits and stage shows geared to the general public.
Here’s my tough grading of these events with a candid discussion of lessons learned and how I will do it differently at our national Science Festival—the USA Science Festival.
Lunch with a Laureate
Eight of Southern California’s Nobel Laureates hosted brown bag lunches with groups of 100 students, with an informal Q&A, about their perspectives on the future of science, and the Laureate’s own journey. The Laureates were terrific, bringing science to the kids’ level, personally greeting each student and remaining afterward to sign autographs.. The students and their teachers were asked to prepare questions in advance. We asked the Laureates to confine their opening remarks to five minutes, and to start the discussion with a current hot issue in their field. This program humanized these figures whose careers seem so remote and unattainable.
One hundred of San Diego’s leading scientists presented school assemblies at middle and high schools. Many were truly magical, but some fell flat. Commanding … Next Page »