Brian Greene wants focus on the drama of science

Brian Greene, Columbia University physicist and co-founder of the World Science Festival, wants people to know that science is dynamic.

Brian Greene: I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why science is intimidating, and I think it’s largely because when we teach it, we typically teach the results of science, and we teach the methods of science, but we don’t really ever focus on the stories of science. That’s where the real drama of science sits.

Brian Greene is a Columbia University physicist, and co-founder of the World Science Festival“. Greene wants people to know that science is dynamic, not static.

Brian Greene: When we teach our students about physics in particular, we’re pretty happy if we bring them all the way up to the late 1660s and teach them about the insights that Newton gave us. It’s kind of rare that we really focus on the exciting things that have happened since 1660s. What physics has shown in the last 100 years is that reality is strange, and spectacularly interesting, if you are able to see the insights without being blinded by the details.

Greene spoke of the excitement behind new discoveries.

Brian Greene: When you actually allow the drama of science to unfold, people interact with the subject in a very different way. When I go around the country and I’m speak to kids about black holes, and the big bang, and neutron stars and galaxy formation, but using accessible language, just giving them a feel for new picture of reality that has emerged from these insights, I can see their eyes light up. I can see that window onto the universe is opening up that they didn’t have access to before. That’s where the excitement and the interest and the desire to learn more about the subject comes from. And I think that’s the key element that’s missing in how we teach science typically in the classroom.

Lindsay Patterson