Physics isn’t Fun

February 16, 2009

Seems the Government has decided the British Public doesn’t value science enough. Science Minister Lord Drayson wants to combat the perception that Science is elitist, and a campaign has been launched called “Science : So What ?” . I find myself wriggling uncomfortably. Well of course we want the public to appreciate science; and of course we want more kids picking science subjects at school; and of course we want more physics teachers. And I love doing PUS stuff myself – public lectures, talks to schoolkids. So why do I feel uncomfortable ? Here’s three reasons :

  1. You don’t get dates if you look desperate. The lady doth protest too much. Anybody remember that old British Rail campaign ? The one that said “We’re getting there”. Cringe.
  2. People don’t like being patronised. Should we be telling people science is fun fun fun ?  Its not a Saturday morning cartoon. Its important. Physics is very difficult. But its worth it. Sue Blakemore made this point in the Guardian recently.
  3. The public know perfectly well how important science is. Maybe the problem is with the power brokers : the captains of industry, the mandarins, the Threadneedle Street Masters of the Universe.  I speak of the UK : in the US, its probably the other way round.

Or maybe I am just being a grinch cos its been raining for three days.