From The Atlantic:
This editorial compares the political climate and public opinion towards science when the original Cosmos ran on television in the 80s to today’s opinions. The original Cosmos kicked off a decade-long “popular science boom,” according to Bruce Lewenstein, a professor of science communications at Cornell University. When Lewenstein asked scientists between the ages of 30 and 60 to name something that made them want to be scientists, a large number cite Cosmos. However, beyond raw numbers of viewers and anecdotal reports of personal inspiration, there is a lack of data on how Cosmos actually affected public support for science, making it difficult to consider any impact of the newer Cosmos in comparison to the original. The author of the editorial argues that we should consider the new Cosmos on its own terms, rather than pinning extremely high hopes about increased understanding of science or greater agreement about climate change and clean energy on a television show.
From Mercury News:
Tim Ritchie, the President of the Tech Museum of Innovation, suggests that focusing on the impacts of technology, rather than technology itself, will help engage females in science and technology. Ritchie cites the example of prototyping a new exhibit called “Social Robots,” which challenges visitors to build robots that will do something meaningful in the world. In prototyping, the exhibit team was able to identify very specific design decisions that made a large impact on differences between how men and women viewed the exhibit.
As part of their Science Weekly podcasts, The Guardian recently published an hour long interview with Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum in London, to discuss the role of science museums in promoting the public understanding and appreciation of scientific innovations both old and new. Blatchford discusses a wide range of topics including linking scientific history with current innovations, the importance of educating adults, pop culture in science exhibitions, theater in museums and more.
From Chicago Tribune:
Opened on March 12, the Field Museum’s latest exhibit, “The Machine Inside: Biomechanics,” focuses on the concept that all biological creatures comprise interconnected mechanical systems. The exhibit is designed to allow visitors to discover the marvels of natural engineering and see how we can apply the innovations of evolution. Guests can explore how plants and animals stay in one piece despite the force of gravity, the pressure of water and wind, and the attacks of predators. They can also experiment with new adaptations and applications and learn about the future of biomechanics and biomimicry, fields that are re-energizing the imaginations of architects, engineers, and designers.
From NISE Net:
NanoDays, a nationwide festival for educational programs about nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on the future, will run from March 29 to April 6 at institutions across the country. NanoDays events are organized by participants in the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) and take place at over 200 science museums from Puerto Rico to Hawaii. NanoDays engages people of all ages in learning about the emerging field of nanotechnology. The NISE Net website has more information on individual participants and documents summarizing reports submitted by NISE Net partners following annual NanoDays events.
From UChicago News:
Children who use their hands to gesture during a math lesson gain a deep understanding of the problems they are taught, according to new research from The University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology. Previous research has found that gestures can help children learn. This study in particular was designed to answer whether abstract gesture can support generalization beyond a particular problem and whether abstract gesture is a more effective teaching tool than concrete action. The study found that abstract gesture was most effective in encouraging learners to generalize the knowledge they had gained during instruction. Action was least effective in encouraging generalization and concrete gesture was somewhere in between.