Someone said to me recently that their interest in the science of everyday life stems from their natural curiosity, their desire to “poke the world.” I liked that.
My interest in science is totally hedonistic. I like to learn stuff. There are lots of people like me. I think we find it sometimes hard to relate to people who aren’t driven by that curiosity. How do we reach them?
Of course, keeping science concrete and related to life is important. Science is something we do, after all, it’s an action. It’s not a set of static facts, but a method of gathering knowledge about the world.
Bringing science to people where they are — to the public square, to popular magazines, is also important. For example, why can’t I shower after getting a perm? There’s a good chemistry lesson lurking in there!
Other good examples of bringing science to the public square are the work of Jennifer Ouellette, who wrote the popular Physics of the Buffyverse (using Buffy the Vampire Slayer to teach about science). Also, Tim Gay, who taught 1 minute physics lessons during the game breaks at Nebraska football games. What a challenge.