The Science zone is an area at the Genius Fun Fair where children can explore scientific experiments and learn about the importance of science in our society.
Science is woven into the fabric of our day-to-day activities. When we consider the impact of flying, computers, cell phones, and the Internet, it's easy to see how science (and the technology to which it leads) has impacted our society. When we benefit from cures to terminal illnesses, M.R.I. devices, and artificial hearts, we can immediately appreciate how important science is today in our lives.
When we assess the state of the world, and identify issues such as global warming, endangered species, security threats and diminishing resources, we turn to science to gauge the problems and find solutions. And when we look at the future to uncover the possibilities— smart computers, stem cells, genetic research, robots, nanoscience, space technology — we realize how crucial it is to cultivate a general public that can engage with scientific issues; science is the answer to preparing society to make informed decisions on a wide range of issues responsible for shaping the future.
But science really matters for yet another reason. Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding in a manner that's precise, predictive and reliable — a transformation, for those lucky enough to experience it, that is enlightening and satisfying. It is the ultimate achievement to discover a solution that resolves a problem for humanity and that endures for centuries. To be able to think through and grasp explanations — for everything from why the sky is blue to how life formed on earth — not just because they are important but rather because they reveal patterns confirmed by research and experiment, is one of the most precious of human experiences. Any science teach can relate has experienced a child's eyes light up when they discover the magic of science for themselves. Some children go to school with a renewed enthusiasm when they can understand science and its value to their personal life.
Brian Greene, a professor of physics at Columbia, and the author of "The Elegant Universe" and "The Fabric of the Cosmos" puts it this way: A couple of years ago I received a letter from an American soldier in Iraq. The soldier told me how learning about relativity and quantum physics in the dusty and dangerous environs of greater Baghdad kept him going because it revealed a deeper reality of which we're all a part. I've spoken with high school dropouts who've stumbled on popular science books about the human genome project, and then returned to school with newfound purpose."
It's peculiar that science is still viewed by some as merely a subject one studies in the classroom. "In reality, science is a language of hope and inspiration, providing discoveries that fire the imagination and instill a sense of connection to our lives and our world", writes Brian Greene in the NY times. If you are like most whose strong suit is not science, you may relate to those students who describe their encounters with science in school as uninteresting, and intimidating. Yet, every day we happily use the innovations that science makes possible.
The Genius Fun Fair and the Imagination Expo are organized by Farhad Omidwar, John Davis, Annaliza Fran and the NEC team.
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