Formula needed to make scientists sexy
Updated: 2012-05-03 15:36
Prestigious mathematician Lin Qun of Chinese Academy of Sciences believes the inaction of his fellow academics to popularize the subject has contributed to its decline, China Youth Daily reported Thursday.
Lin always delivers a lecture enthusiastically but is often deflated by the indifference of the audience.
"During the lecture, most students sit far away the front row wearing earphones or tapping on laptop computers, and the teachers sitting at the front rows were also reluctant to listen," said Lin.
According to a census released in November 2010 on Chinese scientific literacy, only 3.27 percent acquired basic scientific literacy in that year, equivalent to the level of Japan in 1980s.
Some attribute the low popularity of science to China's exam-oriented education system and a lack of understanding of its significance, but Lin's believes scientists are responsible.
"We cannot blame the public for the indifference of science. It is caused by scientists."
The long-existing prejudice and misunderstandings to popularize science has made it a tough job and not one some scientists believe is necessarily the right thing to do.
On the other hand, scientists don't do well in communicating and simplifying complicated scientific issues, often using boring professional terms and formulas that fail to make it more understandable and attractive to the masses.
China should improve its motivation and assessing system to encourage more scientists to engage the cause of popularizing science, said Lin who added that more investment should be poured into this area.