The 21st cen­tury science ed­u­ca­tors

Panay News - - NEWS -  By Irene P. Aman­cio

Luis Es­cutin Na­tional High School, Dao, Capiz

I THINK one of the most highly evolv­ing ed­u­ca­tors in his­tory is not only the his­tory ed­u­ca­tors but also the science ed­u­ca­tors. Un­like math and English that have fixed gram­mat­i­cal sys­tem or per­fect tenses of verbs, science evolves, dra­mat­i­cally some­times at the turn of cen­tury.

In the pe­riod 1700-1900, kings and em­pires rose and fell, but science con­quered all, tak­ing the world by storm. Yet, as the 1700s be­gan, the mys­ter­ies of the uni­verse were pon­dered by “nat­u­ral philoso­phers” – the term “sci­en­tist” didn’t even ex­ist un­til the mid-19th cen­tury – whose ex­pla­na­tions couldn’t help but be in­flu­enced by the re­li­gious thought and po­lit­i­cal and so­cial con­texts that shaped their world.

The rad­i­cal ideas of the En­light­en­ment were es­pe­cially im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial. The work of nat­u­ral philoso­phers pre­pared the way for the more fa­mil­iar world of science we rec­og­nize to­day.

To nav­i­gate this com­plex a mix of so­cial fac­tors and sci­en­tific knowl­edge re­quires a teacher of very spe­cial­ized back­ground. Be­fore, teach­ers were trained as a math­e­ma­ti­cian and sem­i­nar­ian be­fore re­ceiv­ing a doc­tor­ate of sci­en­tific his­tory. Pro­fes­sor Fred­er­ick Gregory was one of those who brought an un­usu­ally apt per­spec­tive to science. It was at a time when the church’s in­flu­ences on science were of­ten pro­found.

If you are go­ing to move back and forth across 20th and 21st cen­turies, the lec­tures touch on many of the sci­en­tific dis­ci­plines we know to­day, in­clud­ing chem­istry, bi­ol­ogy, physics, astron­omy, pa­le­on­tol­ogy, and oth­ers. And they of­ten cover in de­tail fa­mous ex­per­i­ments and dis­cov­er­ies in ar­eas as di­ver­gent as elec­tro­mag­netism, fos­sil analysis, and medicine.

You will find names that leap out as fa­mil­iar, like Isaac New­ton, Charles Dar­win, Michael Fara­day, Louis Pas­teur, Max Planck, An­toine Lavoisier, and Al­bert Ein­stein. And you will meet some of the great­est names in the his­to­ries of non-sci­en­tific dis­ci­plines. These in­clude thinkers as di­verse as Im­manuel Kant, Jo­hann von Goethe, Her­bert Spencer, Sa­muel Tay­lor Co­leridge, and Thomas Paine, to name a few. All of them en­tered the fray to leave their mark on the an­nals of sci­en­tific in­quiry.

But you will also learn about oth­ers within this fledg­ling sci­en­tific com­mu­nity whom you may never have en­coun­tered be­fore. Do you know about Ni­co­las Male­branche, Jakob Mo­leschott, Robert Cham­bers, Abra­ham Werner, Wil­liam Whewell, or a re­mark­able

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