Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

May 28 - Strong undergraduate STEM communities serve the broader interests of science and of society

What [President] Wilson meant by the wholly awakened person who should be the ideal product of American higher education is a person awakened through the power of the imagination to a consciousness of possibilities... James Bryant Conant assures us that scientific discovery begins not in the finding of the laboratory but in the glimpses of the imagination... that the true scientist takes off, as the true poet does, not from the notes on hisdesk, but from a hunch, a feel in the bones, an intimation.

If that is true, Mr. Wilson's whole person will make the better scientist, as he will be the better citizen of a free nation.
– Archibald MacLeish. Education in the Nation's Service. 1959.

To educate scientists who will be at home in society and to educate a society that will be at home with science...
– NSF Advisory Committee on Science Education. 1970.

Connections has been the theme of PKAL Volume IV postings in May 2004, and we end with words about the connections between scientists, science and society.

The lead essay, New truths and old verities, is by Judith Ramaley, Assistant Director, Directorate for Education and Human Resources - National Science Foundation, who argues that science is everybody's business, that academic leaders must come to understand why constructing undergraduate experiences for all students that incorporate a genuine involvement in science and technology is central to their responsibility to preserve the long-term distinctiveness and viability of their particular institution and to make a significant contribution to the good of our society.

Further essays from three 2003 PKAL assemblies provide specific examples of how the undergraduate STEM learning experience connects to the world beyond the campus.

Other Resources

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's remarks at the reception (May 26, 2004) to announce the 2004 - 2005 winners of the first Jefferson Science Fellows connected the past, present and future of America: Just as in the days of Franklin and Jefferson, American scientists and diplomats share a common goal today: they both seek to apply the best knowledge we have to the most significant challenges we face. This is the spirit of science. This is the spirt of freedom that animates America and inspires our thinkers and scientists to improve the lives of their fellow human beings.

(Information on the Jefferson Fellows, a new initiative to bring the expertise of distinguished scientists to the deliberations of American foreign policy can be found at: http://www.national-academies.org/jsf