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neotesla
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 11/18/10

Loc: Canada
BBC Article...
      #5487085 - 10/24/12 02:16 PM

Something for discussion... Should astronomy be a compulsory topic for education?

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121024-astronomy-should-be-compulsory


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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: neotesla]
      #5487300 - 10/24/12 04:38 PM

I'd almost rather they remained ignorant than be browbeaten by the Kaku-ian, Greene-ian hordes of pseudo-priests teaching astronomy as a new form of closed-minded dogma.

-drl


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kw6562
Authoritative Ignoramus
*****

Reged: 06/25/08

Loc: MA
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: deSitter]
      #5487817 - 10/24/12 11:04 PM



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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: neotesla]
      #5487826 - 10/24/12 11:13 PM

I taught with a Rico Tyler in the Kentucky Governor's Scholars Academy for about 10 years. In addition to his almost 30 years involved with the Academy and now being a university astronomy professor, he is a National Science Teacher of the Year award winner (feted and dined at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum with President Clinton present).

Rico once pointed out to me, and it sounded convincing, that astronomy, well taught (as he always did things) is a gateway science to all other sciences; physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics.

Otto


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5487916 - 10/25/12 12:24 AM

Any science, well taught, is a gateway science to all the others.

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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5488048 - 10/25/12 04:26 AM

Exactly! This is precisely the sort of priestly behavior among the "astro-cognoscenti" that I was ranting against.

-drl


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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5490350 - 10/26/12 02:37 PM

Quote:

Any science, well taught, is a gateway science to all the others.






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russell23
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/31/09

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: neotesla]
      #5490824 - 10/26/12 08:23 PM

Quote:

Something for discussion... Should astronomy be a compulsory topic for education?

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121024-astronomy-should-be-compulsory




The introduction of Garett P. Serviss's 1888 book "Astronomy with an Opera glass" talks about how people of that time did not know the names of the brightest stars, could not recognize the constellations, and could not distinguish planets from stars. Seems little has changed for the masses.

Dave


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: deSitter]
      #5490831 - 10/26/12 08:26 PM

Quote:

I'd almost rather they remained ignorant than be browbeaten by the Kaku-ian, Greene-ian hordes of pseudo-priests teaching astronomy as a new form of closed-minded dogma.




Yeah, but what do you really think?


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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5490893 - 10/26/12 09:23 PM

I can't, the local humble m-person will ban me

-drl


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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: deSitter]
      #5490935 - 10/26/12 10:00 PM

What/who are "Kaku-ian, Greene-ian hordes"?

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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: moynihan]
      #5490953 - 10/26/12 10:14 PM

I see you don't own a televsion machine.

-drl


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5491026 - 10/26/12 11:18 PM

Some years ago the state of Kentucky initiated a program called the Kentucky Education Reform Act. This program has accomplished good. For example, it has equalized school district funding.

One other thing KERA has done is to impose on all instruction government mandated standards. The result has been that the curricula of all subjects falling under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Education are quite defined, constrained, narrow, and exclusive to their own topic. This is in part due to the need to prepare students to perform well on tests. Thus, there is little or no room, in the actual high school education environment, to expand instruction much beyond topics exclusively devoted to the specific subject.

Though it is true to say all science subjects can serve as gateways to all other sciences subjects, it is difficult to imagine how biology, chemistry, and physics courses could incorporate much of the other sciences beyond a cursory treatment in today's actual education environment.

Astronomy has, as yet, been able to fly under the radar, perhaps because few who craft the government/education department curricular requirements consider it to be a real science. Though there are elements of mathematics and physics in astronomy course requirements; much of it is show and tell as is evidenced by the fact that astronomy, if it is taught in a school at all, is often taught by persons whose specific training is some other subject; sometimes not even a science.

Astronomy still possesses an innocence, relatively untouched by government/education department mandates, which can allow the dedication of instructional time needed to allow it to be a gateway.

How long this opportunity will last, no one can say.

Otto


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DarkSkys
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/11/10

Loc: In the dark desert of Eastern ...
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5491184 - 10/27/12 03:41 AM

Quote:

Some years ago the state of Kentucky initiated a program called the Kentucky Education Reform Act. This program has accomplished good. For example, it has equalized school district funding.

One other thing KERA has done is to impose on all instruction government mandated standards. The result has been that the curricula of all subjects falling under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Education are quite defined, constrained, narrow, and exclusive to their own topic. This is in part due to the need to prepare students to perform well on tests. Thus, there is little or no room, in the actual high school education environment, to expand instruction much beyond topics exclusively devoted to the specific subject.

Though it is true to say all science subjects can serve as gateways to all other sciences subjects, it is difficult to imagine how biology, chemistry, and physics courses could incorporate much of the other sciences beyond a cursory treatment in today's actual education environment.

Astronomy has, as yet, been able to fly under the radar, perhaps because few who craft the government/education department curricular requirements consider it to be a real science. Though there are elements of mathematics and physics in astronomy course requirements; much of it is show and tell as is evidenced by the fact that astronomy, if it is taught in a school at all, is often taught by persons whose specific training is some other subject; sometimes not even a science.

Astronomy still possesses an innocence, relatively untouched by government/education department mandates, which can allow the dedication of instructional time needed to allow it to be a gateway.

How long this opportunity will last, no one can say.

Otto




During my entire time in school, we had 2 weeks of astronomy total, it dident even qualify as a " curosry glance", we basicaly covered that the earth is a planet, we have the moon, and there were 9 planets going around the sun, plus some rocks and gas and stuff. oh and the sun is a star.

That may acutaly be more in depth than what we acutualy went over, being that I was 12 when we went over it. It seems it wasnt deemed important enough for a standardized test, so it must not have been worth learning in there minds.

We had years of earth sciences( hydro cycle, volcanism, atmospheric science), chemistry, very basic physics*, and a few other I am sure I am missing.

* there were 2 more advanced physics classes, but they would only allow the "annointed few" who were deemed worthy into it, and the most advanced class only happened every other year, and you had to be in advanced calculus and have taken every other science class to get into it, I don't think I knew of them ever picking enough kids to acutaly have the class.

There was a class were all you did was watch movies though.

Edited by DarkSkys (10/27/12 03:42 AM)


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Skip
Starlifter Driver
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: DarkSkys]
      #5491544 - 10/27/12 11:19 AM

Yeah, and they were probably Kaku-ian and Greene-ian movies. A plethora of them on TV nowdays.

Oops, sorry. I don't know how old DarkSkys is but what he's talking about may be before Kaku and Greene. I know my time in school was WAY before them!

Edited by Skip (10/27/12 11:21 AM)


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: Skip]
      #5491659 - 10/27/12 12:44 PM

Guys/gals....I am not familiar with what you are calling Kakuian and Greenian movies. What are those? And, why are they not considered to be good?

Otto


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: deSitter]
      #5491672 - 10/27/12 12:51 PM

Quote:

I can't, the local humble m-person will ban me

-drl




Twice.


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russell23
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/31/09

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5491909 - 10/27/12 04:39 PM

Quote:

Guys/gals....I am not familiar with what you are calling Kakuian and Greenian movies. What are those? And, why are they not considered to be good?

Otto




I think it would be reference to Michio Kaku and Brian Greene both of whom popularize astronomy and science through books.

Dave


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DarkSkys
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/11/10

Loc: In the dark desert of Eastern ...
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: Skip]
      #5492831 - 10/28/12 09:57 AM

Quote:

Yeah, and they were probably Kaku-ian and Greene-ian movies. A plethora of them on TV nowdays.

Oops, sorry. I don't know how old DarkSkys is but what he's talking about may be before Kaku and Greene. I know my time in school was WAY before them!




Nah, I've only been outta H.S. for 1.5 years now, them guys have been around way longer than that.


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JKoelman
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/16/11

Loc: Bangalore, India
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: russell23]
      #5514518 - 11/11/12 01:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Guys/gals....I am not familiar with what you are calling Kakuian and Greenian movies. What are those? And, why are they not considered to be good?




I think it would be reference to Michio Kaku and Brian Greene both of whom popularize astronomy and science through books.





I like Brian Greene's books, less so Michio Kaku's science popularizations. But all of this is personal taste.

It comes across like there is a consensus here that both pop-science authors generally do a lousy job. No idea what would be the basis for that. Maybe because both authors strongly defend string theory?


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FlorinAndrei
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/28/10

Loc: California
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: JKoelman]
      #5514893 - 11/11/12 06:36 PM

Quote:

It comes across like there is a consensus here that both pop-science authors generally do a lousy job. No idea what would be the basis for that. Maybe because both authors strongly defend string theory?




Yeah, it is apparently fashionable in certain circles to just pick some random theory and bash it till kingdom come, along with everyone supporting them. High school never ends, I guess.

Both Kaku and Greene are doing an awesome job popularizing science. Neil deGrasse Tyson is another example.


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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: JKoelman]
      #5514920 - 11/11/12 06:51 PM

My first instinct is to say I agree with deSitter wrt Kaku-ian and Greene-ian thought.

My second thought and more reasonable suggestion is to say I agree with deSitter. I see no reason this subject is any more important than the other physical sciences that it shouldn't continue to be taught as a part of High School Physics.


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
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Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5514992 - 11/11/12 07:49 PM

Is string theory part of the standard high school curriculum? I wouldn't have thought so.

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simpleisbetter
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 04/18/11

Re: BBC Article... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5515032 - 11/11/12 08:24 PM

Edit - deleted first paragraph here as I now see the post you were referring to Dave, sorry.

I personally don't see Astronomy any more important than the other physical sciences, that it should take an entire separate class, rather than being taught as part of High School Physics. There are many far more important things for us to deal with, and Astronomy pales in comparison.

As for the people mentioned above, when talking to many of my friends and acquaintances outside this hobby or science, even some school teachers, they are completely turned off by what they perceive as the blind arrogance and false self-confidence of Kaku, Tyson, Greene, Hawking, and other contemporaries. More specifically, their responses to mention of those media scientists usually include blow-hards. As one who has a life outside of science and having less and less time in this hobby each day, I can see and understand their viewpoints and concerns.

Edited by simpleisbetter (11/12/12 10:27 AM)


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moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5515098 - 11/11/12 09:13 PM

I think the phrase "string theory" is a popular misnomer. It should be called the string hypotheses. There are more than one string ideas, hence the plural.

A scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment." (NAS 1999)

As far as i know there are no experiments or observations confirming it to date.

A hypothesis is a statement that explains or makes generalizations about a set of facts or principles, usually forming a basis for possible experiments to confirm its viability.

Hypotheses provides a suggested solutions based on the evidence. Experimenters may test and reject several hypotheses before solving the problem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothesis#Scientific_hypothesis

A hypothesis that survives for decades without experimental or observational evidence is still a hypothesis. Large amounts of funding do not make it a theory.

I am not saying that the string hypothesis (assuming only one variant could be correct)is wrong. I am just saying it is technically, not a theory. I do find the fact that the science press is sloppy in its verbage, to not be amusing though.

Edited by moynihan (11/11/12 09:26 PM)


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JKoelman
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/16/11

Loc: Bangalore, India
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: FlorinAndrei]
      #5515426 - 11/12/12 01:35 AM

Quote:

Yeah, it is apparently fashionable in certain circles to just pick some random theory and bash it till kingdom come, along with everyone supporting them. High school never ends, I guess.




Indeed. I find it discomforting and at the same time ironic that in less-informed circles science bashing is becoming bon ton. I say "ironic" because if doubting consensus amongst specialists is already an act of profound arrogance, increasing the stakes by accusing these specialists of arrogance becomes a laughable proposition.

Back to OP's question: yes, any child should get exposure to astronomy and more in particular to modern cosmology, and such a course should be mandatory. We all need to know our place in the universe. One might discuss details such as when best during a child's education to introduce astronomical and cosmological insights, what should be the exact contents, and whether such a class should be introduced as part of a physics course or as a separate course, but I can't even imagine a single valid objection against the general idea.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: BBC Article... new [Re: JKoelman]
      #5515890 - 11/12/12 12:07 PM

Our local school district here in western Colorado currently lumps astronomy instruction in with earth science, which in turn is lumped in with general science in the lower grades.

The district, however, has announced plans to sponsor a three-year pilot program in cooperation with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife to immerse half of the sixth-grade kids from just one middle school in a residential five-day science camp experience. Astronomy will be one of the many subjects covered, and our astronomy club has been asked to provide instruction, including an observing session under the stars.

The other half of the sixth-grade kids from that school will serve as a control group. If it can be demonstrated that the camp kids acquire and retain a greater science awareness than the kids in the control group, the program will be expanded to include all sixth graders throughout the district. As of now, the pilot program is fully funded by outside donors, including a number of environmental and other organizations.


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