Year after year, school kids lose interest in science. They lose their child-like curiosity in favour of subjects cooler and easier to understand. But if they knew what science was really like, could you blame them?
In September, neuroscientist Dr Stuart Firestein delivered a TED Talk highlighting the balance between knowledge and ignorance. He explains how our current scientific understanding is neither the tip of an iceberg, the outer layer of an onion nor the piece of a jigsaw. It is in fact a drop in the ocean. A drop which produces ripples. Ripples of ignorance.
In essence, scientific knowledge asks more questions than it answers. It’s not surprising then, that as a scientist progresses through their career they go from knowing a little about a lot, to a lot about a little.
How can STEM help?
By providing children and young adults with experience and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths, we can start to give them a taste of the scientific world within the ripples of understanding. That’s where the really cool stuff lays – the stuff we don’t know yet.
In some places, especially in America, STEM is being widened and added to. Two types of STEAM are becoming popular to include Art and Applied Maths, as well as eSTEM which incorporates environmental science. Surely these are great ways to give children access to even more knowledge?
With initiatives like STEM we can start to rekindle a child’s love for science which, after all, must stem from something.