After disturbing news earlier this week (Texas Plans Shutdown of Nearly 100 University Physics Programs), I was encouraged to come across a program designed by Scientific American with their parent company, the Nature Publishing Group, as part of a Change the Equation initiative.
This program is designed to take science out of the realm of the (often) dry classroom, and inspire America's youth by sharing it's very real wonders.
Some of you may be familiar with the acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). American children are falling behind the rest of the world in these critical areas, and our STEM teachers spend much of their classroom time now 'teaching to the test'.
But 1,000 Scientists in 1,000 Days is Scientific American's program to help scientists and educators connect, and thereby make STEM subjects more interesting (and maybe even fun).
We're looking to match educators with scientists who want to volunteer, for instance, to visit the classroom to conduct a lab or talk about what it's like to be a scientist, explain the latest science, answer questions or act as a resource in other ways. How scientists and educators choose to collaborate is up to them.
I've met many scientists on the Vine - some still pursuing degrees, others actively working, and many retired. The skills you scientists possess could be put to good use here, if you have the time.
How would you inspire a classroom of children? Would you perform an experiment? Talk about your own work? Convey the idea that science is, at it's core, simply trying to find out how things work? (Children are born with a natural interest in that!)
I urge my fellow Vine scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and those who specialize in technology to please consider volunteering for this important program. I'll be planning some projects of my own.
And if you decide to pursue it, I'd enjoy hearing about your experiences here.