Blazing a trail for science

30th June 2000 at 01:00
THE 3 billion bits of the human genetic code are deciphered, and the international reserves of hyperbole drained. A trio of girls from one of Edinburgh's comprehensive schools graduate with firsts in biological sciences at Oxford, and become part of Chancellor Brown's debate about elitism. In the reshaping of expectations about the human future now the genetic code is cracked, are we also going to see a reordering of subject choices and careers?

There must be a desire on the part of some bright teenagers to become involved in the next stage of the genetic revolution - the plundering of the immense amount of information, logged in the equivalent of 200 telephone directories, for the really valuable prizes in medicine and pharmacy. This week's announcement has ben compared to the first landing of man on the moon. That and the earlier launch of the first sputnik brought a surge of interest in rocket science. More mundanely, Internet hype inspires young computer buffs and television series about cows' foetuses and horses' fetlocks put pressure on veterinary courses.

It is not just the cutting edge of science that attracts. With genetics comes ethics: debates about the morality of interfering with nature's age-old ways are fascinating to many pupils. They see links between the issues that flow from this and those sprouting from fields of genetically modified wheat. The sciences, a recent turn-off in secondary schools, may be due for a revival born of a mixture of inquisitive enthusiasm and deep seated concerns.


Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now