Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Science Reporting in The Times

For the second week running, I've read an article in the Sunday Times explaining how either a car or a city will be 'powered by water'. I can't post the link because they would now like you to pay to access their website.

If anyone who works for the Times is reading this, could you please use some of the money to pay for the science editor to take a GCSE in the subject. They will then discover that it actually requires lots of energy to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. (If you do it the opposite way round-ie combine the two gases to make water, then you can generate electrical current to power whatever you like)

The general standard of science reporting throughout the media is absolutely terrible. Articles either contain basic mistakes or are sexed up versions of something that appeared in New Scientist a few weeks earlier, with a bit of certainty added for good measure.


Anonymous said...

having a GCSe in Sciencwe wouldn't help , especially with understanding physics.

There is very little , if any physics in the new science curriculum. My old head of science once took her GCSE physics class to " measure the radiation coming from the mobile phone tower in our field" using a geiger counter, and she claimed to be a physicist!

Pete said...

Totally agree with the previous post: there is no science content in GCSE "science"

O'Level - three seperate sciences, we spent two terms on organic chem alone and for physics and maths doing entropy and calculus at 15.

No the first GCSE generation are the teachers. The blind leading the blind.

TonyF said...

We are well and truly stuffed aren't we?

All this country seems to be good at is producing useless bankers...

rapidblue said...

Being of an age that put me in the first group to sit GCSE - It was a shock that it was so easy compared to the trial O level papers we sat! And to see it dumbed down to where it is today is scary. BUT at least the sciences were still separate when I took them. I believe they are separating them up again.

Ambulance Amateur said...

I must admit that I've not looked at the Times Science stuff for a while. Sometimes it's quite interesting.

To my regret, I find that the scientific understanding of the general populus is declining year on year, whilst science has become more and more important.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your position, science can't really be fudged. It's right or not right.

Unfortunately, this - alongside the need for laboratories - makes it expensive to teach properly.

Whilst everyone needs a general understanding of science, only people who wish to go into a scientific/technological job really need the works. GCSE tries to do both.

Why don't we have a short course in "Understanding Science" for kids who either have no interest or simply can't hack it. We could then do a more rigorous course for those who could really understand the subject.

At school, I was good at science, and later passed an honours degree majoring Chemistry. I was rubbish at languages, not even being entered for O-level French.

Wouldn't it be great if I could have done a basic "understanding French" (or German) course and my schoolmates who could not hack Science could have done an "understanding Science" course?