Monday, July 4, 2011

New Project

I feel very fortunate for a variety of reasons, but especially because I was given a great chance to succeed in science where the majority of my peers in Southeast New Mexico had to jump over huge hurdles just to have a chance to understand the subject. My parents are both teachers and they worked diligently to instill in my siblings and myself the importance of education; we went to a zoo, museum, or historical site nearly every vacation.  While we were driving we would talk about the history of the area or my dad would quiz our mathematical abilities  Nearly everything we did would somehow become a learning experience.

And while I always had a love of learning, my family helped nurture it, turning what might have been a secondary hobby, into my lifelong passion. The best example of this is when I was in fourth or fifth grade my uncle decided that every birthday/Christmas he should give me a book that would be too hard for me to understand right then, but eventually I would be able to. For some reason that I can't remember, the first book he gave me was Darwin's On the Origin of Species which I tried to read right then and got through the introduction before it was too hard. However, this was a huge turning point in my life and I continued to learn as much as I could about science from then on.

Like I said above, this gave me a huge advantage of my peers at school.  While I was learning about science and getting a jump start, their pastors, parents, etc were holding them back. Telling them science was wrong, evil, and a ploy to still their freedom or their soul.  As a result I have noticed that most of my friends from high school and college are very misinformed about science. I want to try to change this, though, and I have  come up with a project to try to change this. My Facebook friends are filled with people who have very little formal science education and their informal knowledge comes from impartial sources with political motivations to discredit everything from evolution to climate change to even the idea of an ancient Earth, so I want to offer to answer any question they might have about any discipline of science. I have a good basic background in science and can look up most answers myself; however, to add some legitimacy to this endeavor, I was hoping for some professional scientists to contribute to some the answers, even if it is only a line or two of logic or giving some evidence.

I want to do this because I believe that a personal touch in science outreach will encourage people to trust the experts instead of viewing them as shadowy authority figures. Hopefully this could help a group of students who have little to no science education learn to appreciate and enjoy the study. And maybe, this could serve as a model for other students from similar areas to spread their knowledge to their friends and family. Who knows maybe other science students in the position I am in could help expand the public's scientific understanding.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be glad to help. I frequently find myself in the very same position.
    Every once in a while, I post on facebook for people to ask me geoscience questions - however, I usually only get "likes" from my geobuddies.