February 25, 2014

Alan Alda and science

There's a nice article about Alan Alda at the NY Times. He's been great for science. He's such a smart, curious guy and he's got a pretty good handle on the issues that concern science today. How'd he get all that information? By reading. Turns out, school wasn't a good place to learn about science. I agree wholeheartedly, especially since I'm of a similar age and suffered through the same, unimaginative science lessons.
In biology, there was a teacher who talked about how when you cried, the tears got rid of toxins, so it was good for you to cry. I said, “What about the other way — is it good to laugh?” And the teacher said, “Please, be serious.”
I was never as bored as when I sat in high school science classes. Talk about a long day! They never presented one thing in an interesting fashion. And that's exactly where Alan Alda comes in. Stony Brook worked with him to set up the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. (No other university was interested. Gotta love that. Nitwits.) It's a place where scientists are taught how to reach out to everyday people, to help them understand what science is all about.

As he said, if they don't understand science, they're not primed to fund it. And that's where we are right now in America, where science funding allocations are being reduced across the board. It's as if legislators think science isn't important. Duh.

Read the article if such things interest you. I thought it was terrific. Alan Alda is an amazing American. We're lucky to have him.

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