Bring science alive to grab young people’s interest
IF we are to
engage and inspire young people with science, it is important that
they find it exciting, interesting and relevant, argues Roland
Jackson, Chief Executive of the BA (British Association for the
Advancement of Science. A recent study in which only 10% of young
people said they considered science a good career choice for them
highlights how important this is if the UK is to continue to produce
good quality science graduates. "At the BA, we are always working with scientists and
education specialists to ensure that the activities we provide bring
science alive for children and young people. We want to share the wow factor that science has to
offer and ignite the huge enthusiasm that children demonstrate when
something captures their imagination." says Dr
Dr Jackson’s comments coincide with the launch of the programme of
young people’s activities at the BA Festival of Science, which will
take place at the University of Liverpool and across the city from
6 September to 11 September 2008. The programme is currently
being delivered to schools and events are expected to book up
A wide variety of hands-on demonstrations and workshops are on
offer, from ‘Bending it like Beckham’ (where students can
learn why David Beckham is not just a footballing genius but a
scientific one, and have the opportunity to try to replicate his
killer free kicks), to ‘Biobubble’ (the UK’s largest cell
that helps students shrink themselves half a million times and see
what goes on inside us). Older students can also join TV science
presenter Jonathan Hare to find out how realistic the science behind
some of Hollywood’s classic movies and stunts is. In addition,
there are a number of events that give young people the opportunity
to speak to scientists about what matters to them. Topics for these
‘BAckchat’ sessions include looking at the human impact on
marine biodiversity; whether and how individual efforts to help the
environment work; and the impact of computer games, both educational
and recreational, on the capacity to learn.
It is hoped that bringing students into contact with practising
scientists, giving them the chance to share their views, and showing
that science and engineering impact on such a wide range of things
relevant to them, will help improve the perception among young
people that science and engineering is a good career option for
them. A recent survey ‘Public Attitudes to Science 2008’
commissioned by the Research Councils UK and the Department for
Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) indicated that while
16 to 24 year olds were amazed by the achievements of science, only 1
in 10 said science would make a good career choice. All
schools in Greater Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and
Warrington and other areas of the North West will receive a copy of
the programme through the post. If you do not receive one,
Alternatively, it is available to download from
where you will also find information about the programme of events
for adults and families.
The BA Festival of Science will take place in Liverpool from 6
September to 11
September 2008, bringing over 350 of the UK’s top scientists to discuss
the latest developments in science with the public. In addition to
talks and debates at the University of Liverpool, there will be a
host of events happening throughout the city as part of the European
Capital of Culture celebrations.
This year’s BA Festival of Science is organised in partnership with
the University of Liverpool. It is supported by the Department for
Innovation, Universities & Skills, the Liverpool Culture Company and
the Northwest Regional Development Agency. The Schools’ programme is
coordinated by SETPOINT Greater Merseyside, Cheshire and Warrington.
STROKE SURVIVORS LEFT ISOLATED AND UNSUPPORTED
new figures from The Stroke Association, a staggering 88% of stroke
survivors in England are left unsupported and isolated in the
Aphasia is one of the most common disabilities following a stroke,
affecting one's ability to speak and understand language.
The charity estimates that at least
1/3rd of stroke survivors are currently living with aphasia; literally
"living in a silence", frightened, frustrated and isolated, unable to speak or understand
Joe Korner, Director of External Affairs for The Stroke Association
explains:- "We all need to communicate. Whether it's through
speaking, a hand gesture or the blink of an eye, the ability to
interact with others is crucial.
The loss of these basic skills can
leave stroke survivors feeling imprisoned and depressed."
The Stroke Association's new report, Lost without Words looks at the
devastating effects of aphasia for stroke survivors. These can
include loss of confidence and independence and can lead to
The report highlights the alarmingly low levels of
awareness among the public, health professionals and key decision
makers in health and social care policy.
Importantly, the study also found that stroke survivors who received
long term communication support via a group setting reported a
better recovery and huge personal achievements. It concluded that
these groups enable stroke survivors to develop new strategies to
replace lost communication skills, continue to improve and maintain
these skills and facilitated social interaction preventing
depression and isolation. The groups also provided respite for
The Lost without Words report calls on Primary Care Trusts to:-
Θ Carry out an audit into the incidence of people with
stroke-related communication disabilities so that the right levels
of support can be planned and delivered.
Θ Establish clear referral procedures into Communication Support
Services via multi-disciplinary community stroke team.
Θ Commit to communication support becoming an integral part of the
stroke care pathway.
Θ Ensure where appropriate that clients of Speech and Language
Therapists are referred to a Communication Support Service.
Θ Monitor closely the stroke survivor's needs through regular
reviews at the six-week discharge, the first six months and then
every year thereafter.
Joe Korner concludes:- "As our report shows, with the right
support stroke survivors are able to have a good quality of life and
play an active role in society.
The benefits are not only a
cost-saving to our healthcare system; they are a basic human right
for every individual."