The Importance of Scientific Literacy

Rather than just post another boring, chronological description of today’s activities, I have been inspired to discuss something about which I am exceedingly passionate: the importance of scientific literacy in society. There were two occasions throughout the day today when this thought crossed my mind.

The first was during an interesting and informative presentation by the NUS Vice President (University and Global Relations), Professor Andrew Wee. During the presentation, Professor Wee mentioned that many of the high-ranking politicians in Singapore were trained at NUS. This was mentioned somewhat in passing, however it started me thinking about politicians and scientific literacy. I found it fascinating to hear that many Singaporean politicians are so well educated in fields such as physics, mathematics, engineering etc., when I have had so much experience with general scientific illiteracy in politics. Indeed, it seems that this area of intelligence is very much overlooked in many cases.

I once again began to ponder this topic later on in the day during a short lab demonstration (aimed at high school students). The demonstration included experiments which were designed to highlight various physical phenomena, in the aim of educating youth on the basic physical concepts that govern our universe (although, some of these concepts were actually quite in depth and challenging). Personally, I have always considered a career involving some form of scientific education, and as I enthusiastically watched a liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductor travel around a magnetic track, I felt a surge of inspirationĀ to pursue a career in science education. There is far too much scientific ignorance in society, and I would love to work at reducing that fact in the future.

After all, what could be more rewarding than opening someone’s eyes to the wonderful world of science?

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