Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Role as a Science Advocate

As a Physics Groupie and proponent of the Science Lifestyle, I always feel compelled to promote science and mathematics to most everyone I come in contact with. My role as science advocate is often a thankless task, but someone has got to do it!

A good example of my efforts surfaced the other evening as I dined with two dear old friends, Cary and his wife Sherry. It was a bon voyage dinner, the day before they were to wing their way to the Big Island of Hawaii on holiday. They had never been to the Big Island before and we were chatting about fascinating things to do during their stay. Of course I brought up visiting Mauna Kea and the international collection of world-class telescopes as a great thing to do. Cary responded very favorably and told me he had already checked into the tour company and schedules. I was pleased with the prospect that my friend even considered a science destination while on a tropical vacation. I emphasized how great it is to take the telescope tour and how much I enjoyed it when I went. He was all set to go with the other family members they were meeting in Hawaii, alas the group included a 9 year old child, and children under the age of 13 are not allowed due to increased incidence of high-altitude problems – too bad because this kind of family outing would be perfect for a child to get her science bearings in life.

I pressed on as a science advocate. I recounted to Cary that I had taken the trip up to Mauna Kea solo and it was a very enjoyable experience because you are with many likeminded people, all with a love for science. If he was interested, going alone shouldn’t be a limiting factor. He said he’d consider it. I hope he does because going up to Mauna Kea is an experience of a lifetime, never to be forgotten. Besides, it is a shame to be on the Big Island and not take in one of the most distinctive characteristics of the island, a scientific facility no-less.

My science advocacy has been with me for a long time. I routinely advance interest in science and mathematics whenever possible, which usually means whenever anyone will listen. I especially try my best with children. When I meet up with friends who are parents, I give tips about science events around town. I always ask parents what their child’s favorite subject is at school, hoping to hear math or science. I always try to steer kids to the possibility of a science career; a research scientist might not sound too glamorous to a young person, but maybe an astronaut!

It is pretty obvious that advocacy for a life of science is the overriding reason for the Science Lifestyle blog, and I’m hoping to spawn many other advocates through my tales of science adventure. If I’m responsible for just a few people picking up a science book, or attending a public star party, or taking their kids to the observatory, or deciding to major in a science field in college, I will feel my efforts are worthwhile.

Advocatus Scientia!

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