SCIENCE can match the arts for creativity and excitement, Sir Ken Calman, former chief medical officer, told the conference. "We are doing the same kind of thing. It's highly creative and it's only slightly boring when you do all the experiments," the former Glasgow heart transplant surgeon said.
Sir Ken said it was vital to unlock the curiosity of young people about what makes the world tick and how science can improve it. Developments such as the explosion of mobile phone use had risks and benefits and they should be able to reach conclusions on them.
The problem, admitted Professor Wilson Sibbet, chair of the Scottish Science Advisory Council, was that too many did not see science as "exciting or engaging", despite Scotland's world-leading scientists such as Professor Ian Wilmut at the Roslin Institute, who cloned Dolly the sheep, and past role models such as Alexander Graham Bell and John Logie Baird.
Science teaching had to be "more inspirational". That would involve improving the curriculum and avoiding the drop in momentum when pupils transferred from primary to secondary.