Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This morning on my walk

I took my morning walk today and listened to The Old Testament, a series of lectures by Amy-Jill Levine of Vanderbilt University. After listening to her two lectures on the northern and southern kingdoms I think I may know the chronology of historical events a bit better. If you have ever tried to read the Old Testament you know how confusing it gets in the section of the major and minor prophets. (Now I know the difference between the two and can identify them.)

What does this have to do with science in the media? Nothing really except to point out that context is important. Just as I cannot read the Old Testament straight from the text (because the language and story line just doesn't make sense to me), many of us cannot learn straight chemistry from a textbook. I can understand the sequence of events in the Old Testament if I listen to a summary of highlights from Amy-Jill Levine. And- this information helps me understand the history of the middle east, current Jewish culture and the pervading religion, Christianity, in our own society.

Many people who cannot learn chemistry or physics from a textbook (because it is dull, boring or just too confusing) might learn it better by reading newspaper articles about the applications of chemistry. Or- they might learn it by doing peer experiments and discussing the results.

Just because science in the classroom wasn't your cup of tea does not mean it is not relevant or interesting in real life.