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Re: [Phys-L] thoughts on how science is done


John, thanks for this posting. This is an interesting topic. I'll try to provide some thoughts from a high school perspective.

Let me tell a little bit of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. There are some aspects in the IB which help to achieve some understanding on how science is done. Firstly, there is a strong hands-on component in the natural science (physics, chemistry or biology) curriculum, including open-ended tasks. In addition, a student can choose to do his/her extended essay on natural science. Sometimes the work done is quite remarkable for a high school student (see, for instance, <>).

Secondly, Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a unique subject in the IB (I teach both physics and TOK). It is essentially a course on critical thinking addressing various areas of knowledge and ways of knowing. One important topic is nature of science which is repeatedly addressed both in TOK lessons and in physics/chemistry/biology lessons. In my experience, there is a good chance that a clever IB student can gain some understanding on how science is done (although not at the level John is aiming at).

There is also an outreach program hosted by our local physics department where I studied quite a long time ago. They offer summer jobs for eager high school students. The students participate in research undertaken in various research groups. The way they contribute varies (e.g.,some students may be able to do programming whereas some students can be involved with experiments and so on). I am quite proud to say that the Department of Applied Physics in the Kuopio Campus does research at quite a high level: if you are interested, take a look at <> and <>.


Antti Savinainen, PhD
Viesti on tarkastettu roskapostinsuodatus- ja virustorjuntaohjelmistolla.