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A Thirst for Science

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posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 05:33 AM
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Schools 'letting down UK science'
UK schools are letting down business by producing too few scientists, the Confederation of British Industry says.

Director-general Richard Lambert said bosses had "serious anxieties" and that more children needed to be allowed to study three science subjects at GCSE.

Alan Wood, UK chief executive of technology firm Siemens, said most 16-year-olds' knowledge was "dire".


"Dire" is what is used to describe the scientific knowledge of most 16 year olds, this simply won't do!

Science isn't just a bunch of white coated professions playing around with things under a microscope the church doesn't agree with or looking up at the stars, its a multi-tiered structure from basic school level through universities, laboratories into Government and beyond into international partnerships.

We need to invest and move towards the future...

If we need to penny pinch a little from other areas of public expenditure or raise debates as to the morals of the science then so be it.
The Government can play a positive role (thats a odd thought isn't it
)
in promoting and advancing science, subsidise (I hate that word) students who wish to study sciences at University, increase investment in scientific research across the field, push for international cooperation and raise the needed debate.
Areas such as stem cell research, Nanotechnology can offer so much but there just not with us yet, but surely we shouldn't confine the technology to the distant future, surely we should strive towards them?

Science for the UK isn't simply on the ground we tred, its also above up twinkling back at us each night, the UK should seek a greater role in space research/travel/exploration such as where the UK is seeking a role in Moon missions. International cooperation is essential with science in space, US, EU, Russia or even China, as long as its non-militaristic then it should be invested in and given support.

Could the UK be doing more for science, should the UK be doing more?

[edit on 15-8-2006 by Prometheus James]




posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 12:11 PM
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Originally posted by Prometheus James
The Government can play a positive role (thats a odd thought isn't it
)


- No, not at all.


.....and the fact that things have moved to such a degree that some honestly think it is speaks volumes about modern Britain IMO.


in promoting and advancing science, subsidise (I hate that word) students who wish to study sciences at University, increase investment in scientific research across the field, push for international cooperation and raise the needed debate.


- Why should you hate the word "subsidy"?

Public education in the UK is almost entirely a form of "subsidy" business and commerce is only too happy to 'enjoy', take and help pay towards; if commerce had to pay to educate their future workforce privately themselves it'd be one hell of an expensive (not to mention appallingly narrow) mess.

Mind you some (but not all) of the business and commercial comment and complaint is merely their usual and regular complaint that they'd like more for their money and the education system to be skewed more to producing useful little workers (which isn't quite the same thing as well educated rounded people).

Anyhoo I agree; in general this is a good point well made PJ.
Science (along with engineering and many of the practical vocations) has long been terribly undervalued in the UK.

This is a complaint often made.

If I could find it I'd have put a little quote in showing people were making similar complaints as far back as Victorian times (you'll have to take my word for it, or not, if you haven't heard this before, sorry but my search didn't turn it up).
Prince Charles was attempting to make himself useful by saying similar things back in the 1980's.

It's something governments of all colours have tried to do something about for years.
I thought there is a scheme operating now to induce students into these sorts of courses, isn't there?
Things like additional grants and funds to attract and boost numbers?.

But a lot of it is societal, unlike say, the Germans, the British have never been especially appreciative of science.
'We' prefer images of 'the eccentric or mad scientist' or, at best, maybe a 'superstar' engineer (like a Brunel or a Hawking) but not the actual field of any particular science or the whole 'area' of engineering, if you get my drift.



[edit on 15-8-2006 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 01:02 PM
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I'd like details of what exactly is missing in their education. "Physics" is a broad spectrum. I took Calculus (several courses) and Physics, yet most properties in that science I'd be hard pressed to explain without some MAJOR research on my part.

I'd also like to see what those same businesses are doing to get their own workers back into school to educate them in the area they need these people to work. Many companies, as well as outsourcing, will recruit from within the company...and I mean simple resturaunts will do this, just to get their statistics, business management, chemical scientists, accountants, etc.

[edit on 15-8-2006 by jlc163]



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 04:50 PM
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Originally posted by jlc163
I'd also like to see what those same businesses are doing to get their own workers back into school to educate them in the area they need these people to work.


- Agreed, I'd love to see something a little more serious than the old 'investors in people' badges.

Lifelong learning, it's the only way to go. But it is expensive to do right.



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 11:11 AM
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I too would like to see the government spend more on universities and grants. However as over a third of all U.K tax revenue goes on benefits, and social services (must take care of the ever more sick, disabled population) I guess they have other priorities.
Therefore given that we can already import nurses and doctors; is their any chance we’ll end up doing the same with our scientists? Maths and chemistry is already pretty much a universal language so I guess that’s half the trouble out the way. Instead of saying “can I have a cup of water”; you draw on the chalk board “H2O times 50 ml”.
Meanwhile as many students seem to be opting out of heavier subjects there is a chance some of our teachers could be exported to China (I reckon you should be a able to get about a hundred in one of those shipping containers). This combined with the money being sent back home should accelerate China’s rise to super power status.

At the same time (powered by grants from big corporations) our universities should stay open (can’t put them in a shipping container can you?) although with housing space being in short supply it might be more profitable to build replicas abroad.

What I'm saying is…
1. Is this not the government’s current strategy?
2. What can we do about it?
3. If the Tories won’t address it; then who do we turn to? The unelectable Lib Dem’s?



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 12:18 PM
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Sorry to say this but UK seems to looking more and more like the US all the time I read topics like this.

I think you people need to get rid of your prime minister Bush clone.


I though UK was more into science that the US with all the politicians turned religious zealots breathing on the back scientist necks.



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 01:31 PM
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Originally posted by marg6043
Sorry to say this but UK seems to looking more and more like the US all the time I read topics like this.


- Don't believe everything you read Marge.

We are a long long way aways from the US situation.


I think you people need to get rid of your prime minister Bush clone.


- Actually you'll find that investment in publicly funded education - at all levels - has rocketed under this government.

Along with investment in the public health-care system education has seen several years sustained investment - at a record post-war rate too.

(and to some degree the social security system.....but this is heavily dependant on what you prefer to call a 'benefit'.
A large proportion of the reported rise in 'benefits' is actually due to 'working benefits' paid as a tax credit or a 'working families' child care benefit' also paid as a tax credit.
Not quite the usual implied 'hand-outs' for the feckless as some would have it.)


I though UK was more into science that the US with all the politicians turned religious zealots breathing on the back scientist necks.


- If there is one thing we are relatively and mercifully free of it is religious zealots and the 'creationist' anti-science nonsense that accompanies them.

They do exist here but only in tiny numbers as thankfully they seem unable to gain much 'traction' here.

In any case 'we' already have had our own 'home-grown' evangelical fundys and they have gotten pretty much nowhere amongst the general public so there's no reason to expect the handful trying to export the US version to do much better here.

TBH I'd say that outside of the small circles of those vulnerable to that kind of stuff now really isn't a great time for fundys - of whatever description - in the UK.



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 02:30 PM
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Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
- Why should you hate the word "subsidy"?


Because subsidy often means millions (if not billions) of the green stuff going to inefficient business or those who don't deserve it.
True there are plenty of situations where subsidy is good, but in cases such as the agricultural subsidies by the EU its done very badly and causes plenty of problems, but that's a whole 'nother thread



Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
I thought there is a scheme operating now to induce students into these sorts of courses, isn't there?
Things like additional grants and funds to attract and boost numbers?.


There maybe a scheme, but there is for everything to some scale or degree. What I think is needed is a proper scientific drive on all levels, education, investment, research etc




[edit on 16-8-2006 by Prometheus James]



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