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The Key To America’s Future? Science

NPR Marcelo Gleiser

“How many Americans realize that one of the greatest, if not the greatest, legacies of this country are its amazing universities, incubators of some of the most creative ideas in the past 100 years? Ideas that have changed the world, that have shaped the way we live, that have saved (and taken) countless lives, that pave the way for what the future will be like. Manned missions to Mars, the privatization of the space race, self-driving cars, the explosion of social media platforms, renewable energy sources, the endless pursuit for new cures and vaccines, smart robots, ultrafast computers — these are the technologies that will define the 21st century, and they all depend crucially on science and scientific research.”(more)

Science Literacy And The 2016 Presidential Election

The Huffington Post – Dr. Mae C. Jemison

“Throughout my career, whether aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor, practicing medicine in Los Angeles and Sierra Leone or promoting sustainable development, I’ve experienced firsthand the incredible impact that can be made when we invest in science and technology R&D and science education. As a result, I know that our country stands at a critical point in the world and in U.S. history. The best paths forward to meet the demand – the imperative – to improve human quality of life while not overburdening this planet must be identified and executed. And frankly, collectively, consciously or unconsciously, we look to science for solutions to this conundrum.”(more)

Why Science Education Is Essential For Democracy

The Huffington Post – Arthur Camins

“The current election cycle scares me in ways that I have never felt before. It is not so much the hatred and lies that Donald Trump spews regularly, but the potential for sanctioned violence and irrationality from my fellow citizens. History and morality demand vigorous challenge. My realm is science education. I believe it has a role to play in promoting widespread human decency, equity, and reason. I came to science education advocacy as a young person by way of curiosity, social action, and history. I’m still there. Sure, effective STEM education can prepare students for the jobs of the future. Yes, it can enhance workforce competitiveness is a global economy. However, that is not what drives me.”(more)

We Should Explore Mars So That Our Students Will Keep Dreaming Big

The Huffington Post – Janet Ivey

“Why send humans to Mars? Because as Gene Roddenberry said, “We are on a journey to keep an appointment with whatever we are.” As a space science educator, a lover of Star Trek, and someone who played “astronaut” on the playground, sending humans to Mars is more than just a good sci-fi fantasy, it is an imperative for humanity. Mars is the first outpost in the colonization of other worlds. And thanks to countless orbiters, landers, and rovers… the more we learn about it, the more Mars beckons. For the past 16 years, I have endeavored to find ways to connect students’ natural curiosity with the wonders of our solar system and the universe, and always with an eye looking back at Earth. As a STEM/STEAM educator, I believe that we must teach science as the greatest adventure story of all time; and allow and inspire students to dream beyond their house, their town, and their own Earth-bound experience.”(more)

STEM education: Not just for the next Neil Armstrong

The Hill – Rep. Randy Hultgren

“”I think I knew as a little girl that I was addicted to the stars and the universe and trying to understand it.”
“I’ve been lucky to have a number of mentors. … For me some of the most exciting [lectures] were on neutron stars, these spinning pulsars.”
“High school teachers were really important. Also my parents — my father always challenged me [with] all kinds of math quizzes.”
This is what some of the top astrophysicists in the world told the Committee on Science, Space and Technology when I asked how they began their journey and were inspired to become scientists. The common thread among all of them? Early, inspiring experiences followed up by relevant school subjects and caring mentors and educators that sparked their interest and gave them a vision of something bigger out there to explore. STEM education — those key subjects of science, technology, engineering and math — was central to their journeys. Yet science and math education isn’t just about building the foundation for a career in research medicine, architecture, space exploration or startup technologies. It’s about learning basic problem-solving.”(more)

Feng: Success bubbles up when science moves from the lab to the community

The Calgary Herald – Patrick Feng

“The relationship between science and the public has sometimes been a rocky one. While surveys show the public generally views scientists in high regard, there remains concern in some quarters about the public’s understanding of science. Worries about getting more students into science and engineering, and public controversies over topics such as climate change and water fluoridation feed the nagging suspicion among some that the public is not interested in science. Last week’s highly successful Beakerhead shows this is not the case. Well over 50,000 people attended the five-day “smash up of art, science and engineering,” making it one of the city’s largest annual events. Not bad for an idea that started only four years ago. Moreover, Calgarians’ enthusiastic response to Beakerhead shows that public interest in science is high, especially if science is served up in something other than a boring lecture.”(more)