Banner
    Vote on Student Ideas for Saving the World Through Science
    By Aimee Stern | April 5th 2012 12:16 PM | 6 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Aimee

    Aimee is a 20 year veteran of the marketing communications, journalism and education fields. She excels at transforming scientific and technical...

    View Aimee's Profile
    The Kavli Foundation, which gives awards to science writers annually with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, also sponsors a video contest for middle and high school students. It was launched as part of the first USA Science&Engineering Festival in 2010 and round two is now available for voting online. The "Peoples' Choice" finalists are posted and the work shows just how creative the next generation of scientists and engineers can be. It will also make you smile.

    The topics addressed? How to Save the World Though Science. The 20 finalists are primarily high school students from a wide range of public and private schools. There are videos that examine: 
    • An electric rail system that runs cars
    • The melting polar ice caps and the promise of wind    
    • Deforestation and the CO2 gasses  

    And one very provocative video on our daily experiences of science that asks - "If Science Can't Save the World, What Can?A"

    To see the finalists go to: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/04/save-the-world-through-science-and-engineering-peoples-choice-top-20-74465.html 

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    Students from across the world were asked: How can science and engineering save the world?
    http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/04/save-the-world-through-science-and-engineering-peoples-choice-top-20-74465.html
    I am really troubled by the title and tone of this entire endeavor.  Why would it be framed in this fashion?  The Earth doesn't need saving.

    More importantly, I'm not at all comfortable by framing it to include whether "science" can "save" the Earth.  What is that about?

    I'm not being nitpicky here, but instead, I think it is important to focus on REAL issues and concerns.  It should be clearly understood that "science" cannot save anything.  First and foremost it comes down to people and the respective attitudes they have regarding how they behave.

    In the second place, the only thing that might need "saving" is human society, so we shouldn't couch it in terms that somehow places the Earth in jeopardy.  The Earth is fine and will survive regardless of what silliness the human race perpetrates.

    Unless these questions are asked properly, then we have little more than propaganda and an uphill battle to educate people in dealing with the real problems faced by human society.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    For students, we needn't be so esoteric.  The reason American kids get clobbered on every international test is we are constantly harping on critical thinking and other kids learn answers.  I don't think 'save the world' is the wrong approach for young people. Didn't you think it was possible when you were young?
    Gerhard Adam
    I'm not sure I was ever that idealistic.  The only thing I recall specifically was that I was [and still am] convinced that there was a vast government mind control experiment that resulted in inflicting "disco" on the nation.  At that point, I aligned myself with D.R.E.A.D. (Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco) as the only hope for the future. 

    So in that sense, I suppose I did think the world could be saved.
    Mundus vult decipi
    UvaE
    I am really troubled by the title and tone of this entire endeavor.  Why would it be framed in this fashion?  The Earth doesn't need saving.

    It would have been better to write, "engineering and science can improve society"

    there was a vast government mind control experiment that resulted in inflicting "disco" on the nation
    We were on the same wavelength! I was almost  beaten up in high school, when as president of the student council, I posted several warnings in hallways that sounded something like this:

    Look out for Musically Transmitted Diseases

    Symptoms:
    1. Desire to synchronize body movements to monotonous beats.
    2. tendency to wear cockroach-killing or fence-climbing shoes.
    3. Unbuttoning shirts to reveal sparse or furry chest hair.




    UvaE
    For students, we needn't be so esoteric.  The reason American kids get clobbered on every international test is we are constantly harping on critical thinking and other kids learn answers.

    Testing is far being scientific, but I'm not saying that to defend Americans. Canadians harp on critical thinking too, but they still consistently beat the U.S.

    In addition, averages can be very deceiving, and they undermine the fact that hundreds of schools in the U.S. can compete with the best anywhere. It's similar to patterns of violence: on average, Canada has a lower homicide rate, but places like New Hampshire and Vermont have far lower rates of rape, murder and assault and battery than its northern neighbor.
    FYI the overall theme of the contest is aligned with the NAE Grand Challenges facing human society, also known as our "world" ( as opposed to the physical earth) as identified by the National Academy of Engineering.
    The purpose of the video contest is to give students a creative outlet for communicating their research into real world science and engineering problems and potential solutions, and to raise awareness of both the problems and proposed solutions. If you honestly believe that challenges, such as the need for clean water and new sources of energy, are not "real" problems faced by human society, then I respectfully suggest you check out the NAE Grand Challenges website, as these are listed among the most pressing problems the world faces today, and those most in need of innovative science solutions.