Wednesday, October 13, 2010


A little while ago I put together a presentation which gathers/scatters some of my thoughts on teaching chemistry in the 21st century for a learning and teaching symposium, which my colleague Dr Erica Smith very kindly presented for me while I was on long-service leave.

If you are at all interested, you can go here for a link to the first draft.

Erica tells me it went very well, though there was an interruption from the audience when I referred to non-scientists as 'muggles'; one gentleman apparently took exception to being called a muggle. Though I still think this is a perfectly valid characterisation - scientists are (1) the people who understand what is really going on, and (2) those who have the power to influence their environment in a meaningful way - I have removed it in the second draft. Muggles cannot help being muggles, after all, whereas it is open to everyone to learn to think in a scientific way.


September 16th 2011:

I thought I would just add the slide for the Conclusion in the powerpoint presentation of this and the accompanying text I sent to Erica...

"Chris put this line of untranslated Greek in on purpose and not (just) to show off.
Until recently, this was part of the common body of knowledge expected of an educated person in our civilisation: educated people would know a little bit of Greek and recognise this as a saying of the philosopher Heraclitus.

Now, anyone who sees it, whether they are educated or not, can look it up on Wikipedia. Chris doesn’t have to tell you what it means. It is pathetically easy for you to look it up so if you have the will to know you can go and do it.

(NB: If anyone asks about the years 1900-2000, you can make derisory comments about the ‘Age of Stupid’ … that was what I was going to do.)"