Science Literacy Might Lick a Mystery

The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.
~Albert Einstein

March is Youth Science Month in Canada. The importance of science literacy in our daily lives may not be obvious, yet we make science-based choices every day. Science is involved when we choose what to eat, or choose products with the least impact on the environment or make informed decisions about our health-care.

Carl Wieman (2009), says “we need a more scientifically literate populace to address the global challenges that humanity now faces and that only science can explain and possibly mitigate, such as global warming, as well as to make wise decisions, informed by scientific understanding, about issues such as genetic modification.

Moreover, the modern economy is largely based on science and technology, and for that economy to thrive and for individuals within it to be successful, we need technically literate citizens with complex problem-solving skills.”

Language and literacy skills are integral to knowing and doing science.  Reading, writing, and speaking are all essential to comprehending and communicating scientific issues and ideas.

Robert Krulwich says “the best way to sell a science story each and every time, is to give the audience the experience, if you can, of actually making a discovery on their own—the ‘oh, wow’ feeling.”

You know that moment—some call it the “Ah-Ha!” moment of creative insight, when a solution or a discovery hits you all at once.  That experience—the one of initial discovery, of fulfilled curiosity.

When we use our blogs to share new ideas, we are allowing the rediscovery of wonder. The story we are telling has never been told before—no one has ever put together those associations, or drawn that unique conclusion, or made that connection between two seemingly unrelated things in quite that way before.

Here’s my “Ah-Ha” look at the connection between Science and Literacy.  SFU researcher Dongya Yang thinks he can extract Amelia Earhart’s DNA from saliva she used to seal a handful of letters prior to her famous 1937 disappearance during her attempt to fly around the world.  Yang’s findings could resolve claims that a finger bone fragment found on the island of Nikumaroro in 2009 belongs to Earhart.  Being literate might lick the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s final resting place.