Sex Ed and Physics

For at least one year, our school did not offer a separate course-section in human sexuality for adolescents. We were told to integrate it into whatever we were teaching. Not surprisingly, this got people's backs up. Some courses and sex ed simply do not mix, it seemed. How, for example, can you integrate sexuality and... Continue Reading →

The Craft of Teaching

This meme appeared on a teachers' Facebook group called TeacherGoals. Predictably, within 11 hours, it gained 900 likes among its 159 000 followers . The saying is something I've heard often throughout my teaching career. Variation of approaches is at the disposal of every experienced teacher, who will use them successfully.  But as is the... Continue Reading →

Science Outreach is Alive and Well

Trying to explain why Canadians' perception of science is not as favorable as it can be,  a scientist on CBC's Cross-Canada Checkup blamed it on himself and on the rest of the scientific community. He claimed that scientists do not engage in sufficient science outreach. What an odd thing to say! And yet I have... Continue Reading →

Fun With Shadows on the Winter Solstice

Walking back from an errand yesterday morning, I was startled by the length of my shadow, almost 10 meters long. Yesterday, the first day of winter, marked the pinnacle of shadow-length. From today onward, as the days will begin to lengthen, as solar angles become more generous, concentrating solar radiation on less area, the march... Continue Reading →

Life at the End of Quantum Tunnels

Recently a biochemistry student told me that her classmates looked like they had seen a ghost when their professor seemingly took a left turn from a lecture on cellular respiration and started to discuss quantum tunnelling. But this 90-year discovery keeps surfacing in different contexts, reminding us that without the tunnelling effect, there would be... Continue Reading →

Jobs for a Greener, Brighter Future

How many career advisers or college guidance counselors would put up a poster of this sort? I don't want to reduce the notion to a mere image, but not to belabor the point either, I'll limit the discussion to two of the listed occupations. A Mayor  Who Knows Ecology An ecologically-minded mayor is key. It's based on... Continue Reading →

Ode to Robo-Teachers

Oh Robo-teachers, Of the 22nd century, Why can’t you be here now, To stand in the middle of all classrooms, Your heads projecting holograms Of the Battle of Dieppe, Your auto-synthesizers making dimethyl sulfide and decenal, So students could have their hearts throbbing, And rising to their throats While they smell and taste The blend... Continue Reading →

Horizontal Propaganda: Impact on Science and Education

In the book Propaganda: the Formation of Men's Attitudes, Jacques Ellul argued that although hubris may lead intellectuals to believe that they are immune to propaganda, it influences everyone. Intellectuals are more equipped than the average person to explore a variety of issues, but their curiosity exposes them to a vast volume of literature, generalizations and out-of-specialty ideas. Since they do not have the time to explore everything... Continue Reading →

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