Nature this week profiles
Science education should aim to share the beauty, challenges and rewards of open enquiry and help people to avoid sham, quackery and unproven conjecture. Interacting with students deepens my own understanding of science and of the process of learning science. When I joined the University of WisconsinMadison as a faculty member in 1970, my mission was to improve undergraduate chemistry education for all students, not just for science majors. In 1984, I became the assistant director for science and engineering education at the US National Science Foundation, after those programmes were almost phased out early in the administration of President Ronald Reagan. I rebuilt the programmes and created new ones. When I returned to the University of WisconsinMadison in 1990, I worked on science-literacy initiatives that focused on classroom instruction and the public appreciation of science.
He gives an amazing show, full of chemical and physical tricks. It is so interesting how masters of science education and outreach leverage the advantages of their fields to find different ways to hit broader audiences. A chemist like Shakhashiri can do tricks like a magician on a stage; an astronomer like Neil deGrasse Tyson (recently profiled by Carl Zimmer) can take people on a virtual voyage through the universe. A physicist like Brian Greene can twist space or look inward to the smallest particles; a neurologist like Oliver Sacks can bring you on rounds to hear the stories of the strangest patients.