The United Kingdom was recently rocked by a furious controversy about the teaching of mathematics. Parents were enraged by a problem set in a national exam to assess the mathematical skills of 6-7 year-old children. Their complaint was the problem was just too hard for any child of this age to solve.
To me, this wasn’t the shocking part of the controversy. The real shock was that many of the parents complained that even they had difficulty Continue reading Can Mankind Survive Scientific Illiteracy?
People who make a career in science, computers or otherwise, generally do so because they are naturally drawn to it. They find science fascinating and entertaining, and thus are usually very good at it.
This is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it means they will spend most of their life doing essentially what they want to do; not everyone is so lucky. It is a curse because their instinctive understanding of science may cover up unsuspected misunderstandings, making it difficult to explain to others what they are doing and why it is important. Worse, these unsuspected misunderstandings may make certain aspects of the science to which they are naturally drawn less than pleasant, rendering them more of a burden than a pleasure. Continue reading Language Lessons from a Steam-powered Light Bulb