Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NPR animation of viral infection

Here's a cool animation of viral infection and contagion by NPR. Maybe more realistic looking than the pictures in Jig, Jiggle, Sneeze but you can see all the parallel components. Check out the macrophage extending a long white arm.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

License to Wonder by Olivia Judson

In a very nice post yesterday, NY Times science writer Olivia Judson talks about the importance of speculation and imagination in science and the problems with teaching science as facts. We couldn't agree more and this is largely what motivates our effort to change the way children view science. We quote (you can read her whole post here)

"One of my favorite things to do is to take a set of facts and use them to imagine how the world might work. In writing about some of these ideas, my aim is not to be correct — how can I be, when the answer isn’t known? — but to be thought-provoking, to ask questions, to make people wonder.

I mention this because science is usually presented as a body of knowledge — facts to be memorized, equations to be solved, concepts to be understood, discoveries to be applauded. But this approach can give students two misleading impressions.

One is that science is about what we know. One colleague told me that when he was studying science at school, the relentless focus on the known gave him the impression that almost everything had already been discovered. But in fact, science — as the physicist Richard Feynman once wrote — creates an “expanding frontier of ignorance,” where most discoveries lead to more questions."