Are you a high school student looking for some inspiration? Perhaps a philanthropist who has a little extra cash to throw around, if only you could find a worthy cause? Why not pursue or support something genuinely worthwhile: science.
When one thinks of a scientist, they often picture a slightly eccentric man with frizzy white hair, a lab coat, and a social life comparable to a federal prisoner on death row. Perhaps they never encountered Doc Brown. There was a time though when young people of an entire generation dreamed of someday being scientists and didn’t scoff at the kid who worked hard in physics class, because he might be the kid that grows up to build a spaceship that takes them all to a distant planet and they didn’t want left out. Perhaps these dreams were fueled by an abundance of 1950s science fiction B-movies or the wonderment of the Apollo missions of the 1960s. Nowadays, it seems the study of science is becoming a dying interest among young people, which is frightening considering it is perhaps the most important vocation that humankind must pursue in order to continue our existence and prevent what would otherwise be our inevitable self-destruction.
If only people’s undying passion for religion could be replaced with a passion for science. After all, there have been wars in the name of a god or gods since the beginning of religion, but we’ve never seen a war waged because one group of scientists believed Pluto to be a planet and others did not (although it came close to a full-out riot amongst us unscientific folk who swear Pluto is still a planet, even if we’re not sure why in the slightest).
Science is knowledge. Knowledge is key to everything. Thankfully, while a decade ago, science-oriented majors had fallen dramatically, the numbers are now rising again worldwide – albeit slowly. Whether we as adults, parents, and educators instill a love for the stars, an interest in molecules, or even a fascination with human nature among young people today, science in the name of progress needs to make a comeback. Don’t let your child settle for being a communications major (no disrespect intended to communication majors out there, you get enough jabs from everyone, don’t you?) who may just go on to report on a celebrity gossip YouTube channel – get them engaged in a science fair while they’re young, make sure it is fun enough that when they are thinking about college, they think, “Gee, this would be fun, interesting, and beneficial to our world.” And indeed, that’s the first step to a better world.