Teaching of Science

Photo of Jim McGovern asking a question

Jim asking a question

In the afternoon of Monday 18th May, 2009, I had the honour of attending a lecture about transforming the teaching of science, which was delivered by Nobel Laureate Dr. Carl Wieman at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Bolton Street. I took the opportunity of asking a question and was very satisfied with the reply I received—the photo shows me asking the question. In my view, science is a way of thinking and experimenting, freely and effectively, and it must never be learned, or taught, by rote. Dr. Wieman points out that there is a much better way and that research shows that the better way works. The lecture, including the question and answer session that followed, is available at http://asx.heanet.ie/dit/DrWieman.asx

The Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative is based at the University of British Columbia and its web site is at http://www.cwsei.ubc.ca/>

On the same evening, by coincidence, I attended an inspiring public lecture by Professor David Taylor at Trinity College Dublin in the Science Gallery, his inaugural lecture as Professor of Materials Engineering. This was a masterclass in making science understandable and relevant, as well as being a complete synopsis of fracture mechanics in inanimate and animate materials. The presentation absorbed the audience in live experiments that were simple, but had real experiential impact. Many people become scientists, or think like scientists, or appreciate science, because they have been inspired by great practitioners and because they have caught their enthusiasm.

This item was originally posted in the blog Fun Engineering Notes and Thoughts and was moved to this blog in January 2013.