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Scientists Take Charles Darwin on the Road

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | more than 3 years ago

Education 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Craig McClain reports that team of evolutionary scientists recently traveled to the heart of America visiting rural schools and communities in Nebraska, Montana, and Virginia to share their excitement about science on the birthday of Charles Darwin and were overwhelmed with the graciousness, enthusiasm and sincerity of the teachers, school administration and particularly the students that hosted them. "Over the course of our visits, the questions we received from students were thoughtful and founded in sheer curiosity about the science we presented," writes MacClain. "Indeed, the questions were the most exciting part of our collective visits." Another purpose of the trip was to introduce people to the diverse types of research scientists do, open students’ minds to the possibilities of careers in science, and offer an alternative to stereotypes of science and scientists in general. McClain says the end of our visit to Perkins County High School, a 10th-grader told us, “You guys are not what I expected from scientists. You’re more normal.” Some criticize the Darwin Day Road Show for being nothing more than a “Darwinist ministry,” others for it not being more explicit in its discussion of evolution and Darwin, but with this year's success, there will be a Darwin Day Road Show 2012 and the National Center for Science Education is planning to hit all 50 states by 2015. MacClain says the team has found a middle ground that allows scientists to stop communicating at and start communicating with the public. "It reminds us all that interactions between science and society need not be contentious. At its heart, science is about questions, and we all naturally ask them.""

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