2 Responses to From Cambridge to the Fens can feel a Long Way

  1. Maria says:

    Make a thing mandatory and people don’t want to come. If students have to attend a certain event at their school, they won’t want to be there. It’s comparable to university students who show up in masses to a massively advertised public lecture which addresses the same thing and is given by the same people than their compulsory seminar, but not to the compulsory seminar.
    Another thing is students’ circadian rhythm. The younger you are the more you go to bed late and wake up late (and this shifts back to going to bed earlier and waking up earlier the more you age). So school times are made for teachers rather than students. Perhaps one could replace a school day with a day trip to Cambridge where students take a bus quite late in the day and hang out at the department and see what it is like to be here. Perhaps they won’t fall asleep in the afternoon (i.e., the time you show up there) then.

    Perhaps it might be a good idea to ask people what exactly their needs are and then outline how academia responds to this. Many students in high school are idealists and they would like to have an impact on the world. I would suggest scientists get into story telling and also relate to the issues students might have (whether it is biomedicine or physics or whatever – if you have a relative with an illness, you might want to see what science has to say about this, or if you do research on materials, how would this relate to people and their issues).

    One could prompt people to twitter/ instagram /tumblr /snapchat what they are interested in (e.g., archaeology of their home town, cancer research) and maybe have people who just got into uni to talk to people just one or two years younger.

  2. Chris says:

    I got involved with some local political movements because, in part, I was fed up with scientifically illiterate activists. I wanted to bring the cold light of reason to the campaign against bee pesticides.

    My aim was to get farmers, bee keepers, politicians, concerned public, industry reps and activists in the same room getting the facts straight.

    It didn’t work. Most people weren’t interested in listening to the other side.

    I guess my point is It really isn’t difficult to get involved. I guess Most scientists are afraid they’ll damage their career or hard earned reputation.

    Not all though!

    Perhaps a program from the university to help activists and politicians alike to construct scientifically sound arguments? that will help political opponents find common ground using the universal scientific language…?