The most known living scientists
According to a survey conducted by Research!America in 2017 January, 81 percent of Americans cannot name a single living scientist. Among those who can, 27 percent mentioned Stephen Hawking who passed away March 14, 2018. David Pines, a physicist whose theoretical insights helped explain the electric flow of superconductors and the churning of matter inside collapsed stars, died on May 3 this year. He was a great mind, a founder of Think Like a Scientist and a great supporter of our ReGAME concept from start. Despite his achievements, he hasn't won a Nobel prize and his name is probably unknown to the wide public.
You might ask yourself now: why should I care? If science is not part of the everyday work, why should you be interested? The Pew Research Center investigate in this area and found out that the main motivational force behind scientific interest is mostly curiosity—let it be the motivation behind a science-related career or any citizen spending free time reading about science.
I had a chat with our research team about how did they end up studying physics. They all shared memories of being curious kids as a starting force towards a diploma in science. One of our Ph.D. student, Jens, vividly recalled being a school kid in a science class and keep asking questions which went beyond the core curriculum. "I was always interested in the fundamental working of things but back then in school I didn't get enough answers. I wanted to find out more." Today, Jens is pursuing a career as a scientist, working on his Ph.D., and trying to answer his curious questions by conducting his own research.
What can you do?
Many kids don't take upon their scientific interest, some might even have an aversion to physics classes and grow up thinking that science is something remote, boring and inaccessible. They couldn't be any more wrong in the 21st century, in the era of citizen science! Science reached a point where many problems cannot be simply solved by computational power. Human intuition still proves to be more powerful than algorithms and the time has come for a collaboration between algorithms and humans.
The next level of Citizen science will allow the general public to contribute to many steps of the research cycle, and even co-create gameplay, instead of simply producing data for researchers to analyse. With this in mind, we have created the concept of ReGAME: Research-Enabling Game-Based Education. ReGAME uses games to relate research challenges to core curriculum - to cultivate a love of learning and curiosity for how the world works. Utilising gamification and ‘extreme’ citizen science we aim to revolutionise 21st-century education by nurturing students creativity and intuition.
In September 2018, ScienceAtHome will host a national research contest in Denmark for students from high school and upper secondary schools. The competition will feature citizen science games on quantum physics, turbulence, social science and statistical thinking.
Though there were numerous scientists in the past and are many in the present whose names should be known, the definition of a scientist might also need to be revolutionised alongside education. Could you think about yourself or your neighbour as a scientist? If anyone can contribute to science through games, even to many steps of the research cycle and analyse data, then maybe all of us can be considered as scientists.
Read more about ReGAME here.