Category Archives: Education

Text Post Truth typed on retro typewriter

How to Deal with Post-truthism

The Oxford Dictionaries proclaimed “post-truth” as its 2016 word of the year. It defines post-truth as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” According to the editors, use of the term “post-truth” had increased by around 2,000 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, largely in relation to Brexit—the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union—and the United States presidential election. Continue reading

dreams wants to be a pilot

Your Science T-Shirt Doesn’t Fly

A few months ago Science sent many people a sample of the magazine and a solicitation to subscribe. As seems to be the manner in which these things are done, there were several enticements included in the package. The one that caught our eyes was the free T-shirt. Continue reading

Students suffer from scientific illiteracy.

Can Mankind Survive Scientific Illiteracy?

The United Kingdom was recently rocked by a furious controversy about the teaching of mathematics. Parents were enraged by a problem set in a national exam to assess the mathematical skills of 6-7 year-old children. Their complaint was the problem was just too hard for any child of this age to solve.

To me, this wasn’t the shocking part of the controversy. The real shock was that many of the parents complained that even they had difficulty Continue reading

Instead of thinking (either consciously or unconsciously) of the world as constrained by immutable scientific laws, we would be better off thinking of it as a place we can reshape by speaking the language of science differently.

Language Lessons from a Steam-powered Light Bulb

People who make a career in science, computers or otherwise, generally do so because they are naturally drawn to it. They find science fascinating and entertaining, and thus are usually very good at it.

This is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it means they will spend most of their life doing essentially what they want to do; not everyone is so lucky. It is a curse because their instinctive understanding of science may cover up unsuspected misunderstandings, making it difficult to explain to others what they are doing and why it is important. Worse, these unsuspected misunderstandings may make certain aspects of the science to which they are naturally drawn less than pleasant, rendering them more of a burden than a pleasure. Continue reading