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Science for ALL

Last weekend, I had the honor of hosting a station at a Philadelphia Science Festival event hosted at the University of Pennsylvania Pennovation Center.  There, I showed elementary and middle school children and their interested parents some of the biodesign activities I and others carry out and research at the Franklin Institute.  I was excited to see students so enthusiastic about learning about science and across so many fields.  It reminded me of some of the early experiences I had with science and how those experiences—in part—forayed my participation in the field professionally. Still, learning science spans beyond being able to participate in the field professionally and even transcends learning some skill that is supposed to provide a competitive edge.  I think learning and understanding science is a quintessential part of ensuring full participation in society; that is, it's a matter of citizenship.  In fact, science and its associated technologies are not only ubiquitous, but they interact with and affect us daily.  Furthermore companies and government agencies make decisions on a daily basis on how to both extend science's reach, but also how to best regulate the field and its impact on society.  And so whether your a scientist or not, science is everywhere and will undoubtedly influence us forever.  Because of this, it is ever-more important for folks, both young and old, to have a sense of the sort of headway the science field is making and, importantly, how those advances are impacting us and the environment.  I believe it is with these understandings that we can judge critically the value of such technologies and, especially, make decisions about whether science outputs are appropriate.  And so, I hope that we can begin thinking about science as more than an academic and professional field for those few who wish to participate and more of a domain of expertise needed to exercise full citizenship in society; as decision-makers, critical voices and knowledgable consumers alike. Indeed, science is for all!

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