Promotion of science history

18th April 1997 at 01:00
(Photograph) - LEWIS WOLPERT (pictured right)

Professor of Biology at University College London

Science is central to our culture. It is the intellectual achievement of our age - we have no Shakespeares - and without an understanding of it you are unable to make intelligent choices about how it is applied.

Improving the public's understanding requires a change in culture, something largely beyond the control of government. But education can make a difference.

The history of science and technology should be included in teaching history in schools.

At A-level, we must adopt the continental system so we don't force students to choose between science and the arts so early.

We need more selectivity in research at university. Unfortunately we have to take from the poor and give to the rich. We must bring university laboratories up to date.

We need seedcorn money for research so people can try things out without having to apply for grants.

The grant system is so competitive that if there are any doubts about your project you cannot get any money. That means scientists stick to the mainline and that is not necessarily the best way to do research.

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