Many Roads to Science

By Sean Carroll | February 17, 2010 9:50 am

We’ve collected enough data in our What Got You Interested in Science? poll to draw some conclusions. Not very firm conclusions, of course, as the whole process was wildly non-scientific, and there’s no reason to expect that the respondents were a representative sample in any sense. (The numbers were not bad; the smallest category, “the internet,” received 62 votes so far.) But conclusions, nonetheless!

And the main conclusion is: there are many different things that get young proto-scientists interested in the field. Books, both non-fiction and fiction, play an important role, but no one thing really stands out.

sciencepie

That’s interesting, and not really what I would have expected. Given that there certainly are many things that could get someone interested in science, I wouldn’t have been surprised if there was a dominant source for the pipeline, but instead it’s quite a diverse porfolio.

If we think getting people interested in science is a good thing, the lesson is: there aren’t any magic bullets. A broad-based strategy seems appropriate. Interesting books, educational classes, encouraging relatives, engrossing hobbies and school activities, inspiring movies and TV shows. I approve.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science and Society
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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .

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