Science is important!

By Phil Plait | March 11, 2009 7:02 am

A few weeks ago I made a video outlining why I think science is important. This was part of a much larger project started by Alom Shaha in London, to show people, well, why science is important. He got lots of scientists and educators to make videos or write comments on the topic, and they’re fascinating to read.

And now Alom has created a video wrapping all this together. It’s very well done, and well worth your time to watch. There were any number of times I found myself smiling goofily at how wonderful this is.

Why is Science Important? from Alom Shaha on Vimeo

Head on over to his site and show him the love. What he did is truly fantastic.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Science

Comments (23)

  1. Jack Mitcham

    Awesome video. Now, only if there were a way to get this in front of the general public, rather than “preaching to the choir.”

  2. You’re absolutely right. Any ideas?

  3. GregV

    What an excellent video. I am sending to my not-the-choir friends. :) I’m going to have to find out how to download the HD video file and save it on my computer…

  4. GregV

    I’m a dummy – site has download link. :P (sorry for double post)

  5. bigjohn756

    Please, tell me how I can change my MP3 player into clean drinking water.

  6. Jeremy

    How is it possible that, as a species, we’ve become so blindingly stupid and oblivious that people sitting at a COMPUTER on the INTERNET watching a STREAMING VIDEO have to be told why science is important?

    The stupid, it really does burn…

  7. IVAN3MAN

    To those who say that “gazing at stars is a waste of time and money”, I say this: Buying a ticket to attend a stadium to watch overpaid sports `stars’ kicking a bloody ball about, or buying rubbish records by pop `stars’ — such as bloody Michael Jackson — is the real waste of time and money!

  8. Jack Mitcham

    “You’re absolutely right. Any ideas?”

    Have you shopped the idea to any television stations? Public television here in the States may be interested, you never know. I don’t know how the BBC works over there, but maybe one of the BBC stations would be interested.

  9. Will someone please send this to John McCain? http://twitter.com/JohnMcCain or https://twitter.com/SenJohnMcCain
    I found his twitter accounts, but I have no clue how to send a message to him; I’m new at this!

  10. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Please, tell me how I can change my MP3 player into clean drinking water.

    Please, tell us how you know that your water is clean drinking water, and not, say, arsenic poisoned as many water sources of Bangladesh or Western US.

  11. T.E.L.

    IVAN3MAN Said:

    “To those who say that “gazing at stars is a waste of time and money”, I say this: Buying a ticket to attend a stadium to watch overpaid sports `stars’ kicking a bloody ball about, or buying rubbish records by pop `stars’ — such as bloody Michael Jackson — is the real waste of time and money!”

    And a lot of people may be in complete agreement: http://tinyurl.com/5uxdfo

  12. Geoff

    Do you have to be logged in for the download? I can’t seem to find it. I want to show this to my students.

  13. Roderick

    Maybe a better question is, “what is science?” I suspect the narrow definition we tend to have of science is inadequate, particularly if we take a historical view of science and its developments.

    So what is science?

  14. Jack Mitcham

    “So what is science?”

    I define science as the systematic interrogation of nature. At least, that’s the short version. The “system” in “systematic” is a bit more specific, but I think my first sentence is good enough for a sound bite.

    According to my chemistry textbook, science is a “body of knowledge which blah blah blah,” but I disagree. Science isn’t about the body of knowledge as much as the process by which our species obtained that body of knowledge over the years.

  15. Jack: The film is being “broadcast” on a small cable channel over in the UK called “Teachers’ TV”. Sadly, none of the major broadcasters, like the BBC, who can reach people beyond “the choir” were interested in the project. That’s why it became an internet project. Anyone know how to get something on PBS?

  16. Malachi Constant

    Alom: If you haven’t seen this page it details how to get something to PBS: http://www.pbs.org/producers/

    PBS really seems like they’re interested in providing entertaining, educational programs. If you can get some teacher’s organizations over there to support and endorse the program it might help, too. They say they get 3000 proposals a year, but with your program already being finished, and some educational groups in your corner maybe you can stand above the rest and get noticed.

    Also I loved seeing all the girls doing science and the women scientists you interviewed. This is the sort of thing I’d like my young nieces to see. (Though you could have shown a few boys doing it too!)

  17. Malachi – I teach in a girls’ school!

  18. Malachi Constant

    Alom: That’s the sense that I got from the video. I love that! Keep teaching the girls. I really love seeing young girls doing science, but you can include boys in your video, too.

    I’m a video editor, so maybe I’m overly sensitive.

    I loved the video. I have some contacts with the Houston, Texas PBS station if that helps. I’m c mal a chi *at* hot mail *dot* com. if you want to reach me (remove the spaces, blah blah). I really would like to see your video on TV here if the above link doesn’t work for you.

  19. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    I define science as the systematic interrogation of nature.

    I agree, process based definitions are natural, and so reliable.

    However, just as evolution can be defined as “common descent” (or “inherited change over time in populations”), but must be supplied with a specification of context (i.e. biological evolution as opposed to, say, genetic algorithms), I find that one must do so here as well. The best specification of such context is IMHO mechanism related, natural selection and so forth, since the used media (biology or software) is then irrelevant as it should be.

    For a specific example here, it isn’t enough to say “learning by empirical methods” as for example learning, at its basis trial and error, will only reliably lead to contingent interpolation of known data, not predictive extrapolation of more or less universal laws. So among knowledge I tend to distinguish between (contingent) every day learning by trial and error, and (robust) scientific observation by predictive theory, and point out that the later must be included in the process.

    Of course, that may be what “interrogation” stands for.

  20. Linda

    Just found this, and will be showing it to the introductory biology class I’m teaching at our local community college. The video was extremely well done, and really hits the spot in terms of what I want to tell my students the very first day about science. Thanks!!

    Linda

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