THE PANTANETO FORUM


Issue 22: April 2006

Editorial

Motivating Science, a collection of articles from the first five years of The Pantaneto Forum is now available from bookshops and Amazon etc.  We are offering a discount for direct orders, see our order page.

 

To teach science well, given all the up-to-date educational aides and laboratory equipment available, is a difficult enough job; but just imagine teaching science with nothing more than “A few nails and a yard of wire”.  This is exactly what Keith Warren describes in his article.  His team from the Eduardo Mondlane University of Mozambique do just that:  they teach science and technology by visiting villages and engaging children with nothing more than rudimentary tools, obtained locally.  The surprising thing is not how little can be done, but how much can be accomplished.


In “Thought Experiments can be Harmful”, Bob Damper asks if thought experiments can sometimes be misleading or even harmful.  In an analysis, citing various examples of thought experiments from Galileo to John Searle, Damper highlights some of the problems and drawbacks in trying to understand the phenomena that thought experiments are supposed to elucidate.

 

Sometimes the disparity between science and how it is reported in the media becomes so great that even basic ideas get lost or jettisoned.  In “Losing the message in the medium”, John Eades considers a number of examples in the Press, Radio and Television, where science stories are rendered incomprehensible, both to the scientists as well as the public.

 

In order to enhance the adaptability and basic skills of engineering students the Tampere University of Technology in Finland incorporates interdisciplinary studies in its curriculum.  In “Engineering Education and Interdisciplinary Studies”, Merja Tarvainen describes the kinds of courses which are offered, in order to help students cross the line between engineering and other disciplines.  The idea is to encourage students to be more adaptable to new circumstances, which they will no doubt experience in later life as engineers.

Nigel Sanitt
Editor

ISSN 1741-1572

Contents

Articles

A few nails and a yard of wire, Keith Warren

Thought Experiments can be Harmful, R. I. Damper

Losing the message in the medium, John Eades

Engineering Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, Merja Tarvainen

 

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