Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Good job, Science is Vital

It’s normally hard to get scientists out of their labs for anything other than food or caffeine, but about 2,000 of them managed to make it to a demonstration outside the British Treasury today to protest the drastic cuts being made to the UK science budget in the name of deficit reduction.

Students of science around the world end up having to learn a lot of British names, like Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin anmd Stephen Hawking, just to name three. That’s because UK has produced far more than its fair share of the world’s cumulative scientific knowledge, even while spending less on science per capita than other modern countries.

A scientific community has to be grown and nurtured across many generations. You can’t just add money to smart people and grow one overnight.

And scientists are mobile — they travel very easily from countries that don’t want them to countries that do. The countries that do want them end up more prosperous than the countries that don’t.

Now I have to be honest — there are a lot of British physicists I would be happy to see more of in America. But my pleasure will come at the UK’s expense, and I think the government needs to reconsider this decision.

You can read more about this topic at the Science is Vital website.

First of all, hearty congratulations to Caltech biophysics professor and alumnus John Dabiri, who studies jellyfish propulsion and does theoretical mechanical engineering, a subject that makes my heart go pitty-pat and makes me long for my days as an engineering major before I switched to physics. He works out of the Biological Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech.

And another hearty congrats to Amir Abo-Shaeer, who left a job in industry to teach high school physics. He’s the founder of Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. He’s had enormous success in bringing girls into the field, something I can relate to personally as the kind of girl who always wanted to take stuff apart.

You can meet the rest of the 2010 MacArthur fellows here.