Society President Elizabeth Marincola recently spoke at the Education Innovation Summit sponsored by Intel China Ltd and held at Tsinghua University in China. The purpose of the summit was to provide a platform for connecting global perspectives with China’s practices, and discussing the best ways to we can collaborate to cultivate innovative talent.
Elizabeth discussed how the Society’s programs, specifically the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Intel Science Talent Search, foster innovative minds. “We believe that educating and motivating young scientists of tomorrow, whose vision will usher in new solutions to global challenges, is vital to our common future,” she told the audience. She emphasized how extra-curricular research programs have the ability to incite innovation in a way that simply memorizing scientific facts cannot. “It is counterproductive to squander education on extensive memorization of facts. For example, most U.S. biology classes today stress the importance of having students learn names for the parts of an organism – with even textbooks for 11-year-olds highlighting words like ‘endoplasmic reticulum,’ ‘mitochondrion,’ and ‘Golgi apparatus.’ But it is much more important for students to experience the scientific method, so as to learn about the difference between data and speculation, how to frame a question, and how to approach a problem critically and skeptically.”
She concluded her presentation by saying that, in addition to educating and inspiring the brightest scientific minds to encourage innovation, we must also ensure that everyone has a strong understanding of the scientific method. “It is imperative that the public is fully engaged in science issues which have an impact on their lives, in their own self-interest, to best thrive in modern society.”