UC seeking to explain science to the community
UC seeking to explain science to the community through museum show
January 15, 2014
Ben Laws and Dr Sarah Masters
The University of Canterbury (UC) is running a science show at the Canterbury Museum to better explain science to the community.
UC scientist Dr Sarah Masters says the show, run by postgraduate student Ben Laws, is the culmination of a new initiative to engage with the public so they can better understand science.
``The requirement for science academics and students to communicate effectively is highlighted in the Government’s recent 10 National Science Challenges.
``The need for a greater appreciation and understanding of science is necessary for knowledge to be well-diffused to the community.
``It seems that there is an appetite from the general public for this type of outreach activity, from both young and more mature audiences, which suits us nicely.
``This project presents chemistry in an engaging manner, allowing the wider community to interact with scientists, piquing interest and allowing the public to ask scientists any questions.
``The wider community is generally limited in the opportunity it has to meet scientists and engage in discussion with them. This project seeks to redress this imbalance.
``Scientists are not scary. By talking to us and understanding more about science, the public can be better informed and make better decisions regarding science issues. We also need to inspire the next generation of scientists to ensure future economic growth for New Zealand.
``More than ever, people need some understanding of science, whether they are involved in decision-making at a national or local level, voting as private citizens or making a wide range of personal decisions,’’ Dr Masters says.
Science and technology play a major role in most aspects of our daily lives both at home and at work. New Zealand’s industry and our national prosperity depend on science and technology.
Almost all public policy issues have scientific or technological implications.
Construction work will start later this year on UC’s $212 million new Regional Science and Innovation Centre. The new science facility is part of the Government’s support up to $260 million for the university as it rebuilds and remediates following the earthquakes.
The new science centre is the major project for the university, in the heart of the Ilam campus. It will significantly enliven and improve the student experience along with the refurbishment of the nearby College of Engineering.