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.
In “The Science War in Thailand: Clashes Between Traditional and Modernized Belief Systems in the Thai Media” Soraj Hongladarom presents an interesting aspect of the clash of science and culture in a society which, though quite different from modern western society, nevertheless shares with us all the human values. Understanding and respect for cultural values is important in promoting science, but at the same time scientists have to make the argument for what they stand for. Hongladarom´s article provides more questions than answers, but in doing so lays out the issues with clarity.
There is a natural tendency in science museums round the world for the display rooms of the museum to map the divisions and compartmentalisations of the subject matter. Such a logical division and ordering of exhibits may be natural and useful, but may not reflect unifying principles nor do justice to many areas of science which cross over into other disciplines. In “New Concepts for Science and Technology Museums”, Lui Lam suggests how museums can overcome such limitations.
In the sciences physics is seen as a difficult subject, and within physics, because of its abstract nature, quantum mechanics is seen as one of the most problematic areas to teach. Dean Zollman and his colleagues at Kansas state university have addressed this problem by trying to develop a syllabus for the teaching of quantum mechanics which concentrates on concrete visualisation rather than abstract mathematical deduction, In “The Formal Reasoning of Quantum Mechanics: Can we make it concrete? Should we?” Zollman describes the Visual Quantum Mechanics project which is aimed at secondary students and first-year physics undergraduates. The project not only teaches successfully some abstract concepts to students who have a limited science and mathematics background, but also enhances the learning experience of students who have stronger science and engineering backgrounds by providing them with concrete experiences.