Sunday, September 17, 2017

Science as a tool of empowerment

We may be living in the Information Age, but not all human settlements have been swept over by the wave of science and technology, yet. So why should every child, whether attending the most prestigious school in the country or a godforsaken one-room school in a village invisible to most maps with intangible prospects of a career in the sciences, learn science?

Teaching STEM subjects, when done the right way, does not mean simply teaching the names of the planets, or the elements in the periodic table. It is teaching logic, critical thinking and problem solving. It is nurturing curiosity and the right dose of skepticism while at the same time giving children the opportunity to be enthralled by and understand the wonders the universe. I will go as far as saying that every child has the right to marvel at the greatness of our cosmos. Science hates apathy of the mind, stimulates independent thinking and hence aids in the development of the full potential of the person.

This means that when all the details learnt at school, memorised equations, atomic numbers and what not, are forgotten, the science literacy that is left gives the knowledge and tools to make smart informed decisions.  This is especially important when it comes to management of resources such as land, water, energy and biodiversity. All of which when managed properly lead to a better quality of life. 

More than anything, science is a mind frame and a critical way of thinking. These are gifts that you cannot easily return back and can be used for free to fight propaganda and brainwashing by manipulative authorities. If this isn’t empowerment I don’t know what is.

What we should keep in mind is that great responsibility comes with disseminating knowledge. If this powerful way of thinking does not have a structure to support itself, it would be a futile attempt at empowerment. It is like showing the children the candy they cannot have, exhibiting what they are missing out on, rather than giving them a choice to take ownership of their lives.  In such cases wouldn’t ignorance be bliss?

Inquisitiveness towards life is an exciting outlook to have. The joys in rediscovering how the wall hits you back as hard as you are hitting it, that white light hides within it the rainbow and that saying that the Universe is infinite is not just another metaphor, are delights no child should be deprived of. 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

1.7 million children die every year due to polluted environment: WHO

1.7 million children die every year due to polluted environment: WHO

Two World Health Organization (WHO) reports highlighted that children are exposed to harmful chemicals through food, water, air and products around them. Photo.

Imagine what could be accomplished if a fraction of the 20 million of us in the global chemical enterprise (according to the International Labour Organization) and our networks mobilized ourselves collectively to make a difference. What solutions might we devise and implement? What influence might we have on those who are already tasked with addressing this tragedy? Think globally; act locally.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

University of Massachusetts has just published an excellent article on their project with Chemists Without Borders on a low cost process they are developing to measure the concentration of arsenic in rice. When the process is fully developed, it will be transferred to a lab at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and Chemists Without Borders Bangladesh Team will promote the service to rice producers, dealers and consumers in Bangladesh.

You can read the full article here.