Wooing Potential Scientists

November 30, 2009

Yesterday Britain’s Royal Society announced that they were putting 60+ historical scientific papers free on the internet in celebration of their 350th anniversary of promoting science. These papers include Benjamin Franklin’s descriptions of flying the famous silk kite and James Cook’s feeding his crew sauerkraut to keep them from getting scurvy. Students will be able to read and see these accounts in the writers’ handwriting right in front of them on their computer screen, bridging the past and future. The papers can be found here at trailblazing.royalsociety.org.

Why did they decide to do this? The Royal Society is dedicating to raising the profile of science. For Americans, this ties in with President Obama’s announcement last week that he was launching the “Educate to Innovate” Campaign for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (Stem) Education. This is a nationwide effort to get students studying science, and beyond that, into science related jobs.

Both of these initiatives are aimed at getting young people more engaged in science. Which do you think will be more successful? Do you think either of them will help?