The Science of History

With all the troubles in the world, you’d be forgiven for giving up on humanity completely. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s sometimes felt like running away to a hut in the mountains, just to get away from it all – I haven’t bothered yet, because I know it wouldn’t be long before I would be interrupted by some wayward product of civilisation. Continue reading

What’s Science Mummy?

[an edited version of this is published at The Conversation: ‘Science education the key to better public debate‘]

Late last year, the Media reported gleefully that Australians were “more interested in science than sport!”. This news came via a poll run by ANU which you can download here.

The first lot of data presented in the report shows the respondents ranking their interest in “a range of topical issues”. This data shows that we are more interested in health, medical, general scientific and environmental issues or discoveries than music, politics, ‘sports news’ or films.  Well, ‘sports news’ isn’t necessarily ‘sport’ is it? I prefer to watch an actual game of rugby than a sports news bulletin, and I’m sure others do to…but that’s just being nitpicky.

But the report doesn’t tell us the demographic range of the respondents. All it tells us is that the sample size was relatively small (only 1200 people), and less than half of those surveyed (43.2%) actually submitted their responses!

The really interesting bit is the rest of the report that didn’t make the news. Continue reading