Saturday, January 16, 2010

Where is the FUN in science?

If I were to ask "where is the fun in science?" most people in the critical thinking crowd would look at me like I'm nuts and correct my implied premise; "science is fun!"

I do, in fact, agree with them.  But the problem is, the people who count most - those who aren't critical thinkers - don't.  Face it folks, to them we are ALL Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.  They look at my Facebook page and see status updates like "Thank Heaven for Galilieo... or is it the other way around?" (From August 25th of last year.)  I don't have to explain that to you guys, right?  And that of course is part of the point!  They see it and almost certainly don't get the significance of the date; probably don't get that it was a clever joke; and if they do see that it was a joke, they probably don't know why it is funny.  Anyone who does... is one of us.

You can't simply dress science up in "fun" colours, say that it's fun, and expect people to respond.  Hell if you even call it "science" anywhere before the moment your audience cries out loud in reaction, most of them are going to shut off.  They must realise they are having fun, before they realise they are having science (fed to them.)

For all I know that is how I was brought into the fold.  It's far too late in my life to determine whether the bug for science led me to science educational programming and reading as a kid, or if the likes of Dr. Zed and 3-2-1 Contact got me interested in science.

Science must be a stealth benefit of the entertainment - for both young and old, not the other way around.  Far too much science "for your own good" is given a patina of excitement that doesn't go past the surface, and is expected by those who have gussied it up to have some sort of legs on it.  I can only assume that people who actually think that efforts like these are valuable and aren't merely singing to those who already have a copy of the libretto, either socially speaking haven't got a living clue how the other half live (I invoke Sheldon again); or perhaps really do think that the knowledge is best kept by those who can handle it... and that is pathelogical (and I am sure, insanely rare, if existent at all.)

I don't really have an instant answer for this issue.  I'm pretty much just thinking out loud.  If I had a good formula for selling science to a big demographic without them necessarily realizing that that was what they were consuming, I can pretty much guarantee I'd be in production....  But if anyone has an idea that doesn't read like the periodic table... you know where to find me.

No comments:

Post a Comment