Let's face it. Science is life! It might not be obvious at
first, but if you really think about it, almost everything has
at least something to do with science. That is because science
is the study of the world in which we live, and everything in
Biology is the study of all living things, from the paramecium
to the blue whale. Chemistry is the study of the composition,
properties, and phenomena of elementary substances. Physics is
the study of the properties of matter and energy. Geology is
the study of the history of the earth through its rocks and minerals.
There are countless divisions and subdivisions, such as botany,
biophysics, and volcanology, which eventually cover everything
that can be studied.
Through science, we can learn to understand the world in which
we live. One of the most basic understandings of life is simple
physics: "Ball goes up, ball comes down". We don't
make commercial airplanes out of cardboard, because we know it
isn't strong enough. How do we find a material that will work?
We look at the properties of different substances so we can create
something strong enough to build an airplane with. Chemistry
saves the day once again. If you get an infection in your stomach
and you go to the doctor, how can he help you if he doesn't know
what is going on in your stomach? Biology solves that problem.
It lets the doctor find out what's wrong with you, where it came
from, and how to get rid of it.
So, why is it important for Canada to know how well its students
are doing in science? We have seen that no matter what you do,
science is always present. In order to compete in the international
job market, Canadian students need to have a good education in
science. Canada needs to know how well students are doing in
science so it can help them be more competitive.
However, this is not as easy as it may seem. In Canada, education
is a provincial jurisdiction, which makes it very difficult to
offer national standards. Students in Alberta could learn different
things than students in Newfoundland, so in a national exam,
results might be uneven due to provincial variation in curriculum.
That doesn't mean that one province has a poorer science curriculum,
rather that the subjects on the exam didn't fit what one province's
students are being taught. National exams can't test the overall
knowledge of Canada's students because of the differences in
In order to solve this problem, Canada would have to set and
successfully implement a national standard curriculum for science
education, so all students in all provinces would have a more
comparable education. However, there are things that aren't reasonable
to teach in certain provinces. For example, the forestry module
that the Holy Heart Biology 3201AP class just studied might not
be taught in Regina. Also, why teach Newfoundland students how
to grow corn and wheat? On the other hand, studies about ocean
biomass seems less compelling in a prairie curriculum.
So, while it is important for Canadian students to do well
in science, it's just not possible for that knowledge to be universally
Science is great fun. It is enjoyable for so many people because
no matter who you are, you are bound to find some division of
science that you like. Also, science is frequently a hands-on
education, as opposed to a sit-down-in-your-desk-for-an-hour
one. One thing I've found quite fun is that you get to talk about
ordinary things in a new and different way.
Another great thing about science is that there is an endless
list of careers in scientific and science-related areas in the
international job market. Here are just a few of the many careers
offered by science.
All medical careers are science-related. Biology, chemistry,
and physics all deal with medicine. Their important combinations
are biochemistry and biophysics. Biology, as the study of the
body itself, contributes through research ever increasing knowledge
of how human anatomy functions. Chemistry is used primarily for
the development of drugs and medications. Physics is used to
explore the mechanical functions of the human body both as it
relates to such things as sports medicine as well as in the design
and construction of prosthetic devices. Both biochemistry and
biophysics have become more specialized branches of medical study.
Despite all the attention being paid to science, the arts
are actually the fastest growing job market in Canada. However,
science plays a critical role in gaining an understanding of
much of the artistic process. For example, in order to design
a good concert hall as well as a good quality instrument, one
needs to have a superb understanding of the physics of sound.
In designing brass instruments, scientific knowledge in the field
of metallurgy is required to select or manufacture the best metal
alloys for use in the construction of these instruments. In the
design of concert halls, the physical properties of the hall's
interior surfaces plays a significant role in attaining a workable
acoustical environment. Scientific studies of playing practices
for both instrumental as well as vocal production have recently
had a profound effect on performance practice. In much the same
way as the physics of sports has improved our athletes' performance,
scientific investigation has made an important impact on the
way we play instruments and sing.
From these three basic sciences, various sub-specialities
have arisen. Botany, the general study of plants, is important
for agricultural and nutritional studies. Geology, the study
of the history of the earth and its changes, especially as recorded
in its rocks, is important for the mining and metallurgy industry.
Geology also subdivides into specialties such as climatology
and volcanology. Applied sciences such as engineering provide
the interface between pure scientific knowledge and its application
to everyday life.
Science is not only an intriguing study for students since it
permeates our whole way of life and allows students to question
and explain the way things are, science also is an important
background study for many careers in society. It is present in
all aspects of the world from medicine to the arts, from steel
and concrete bridges to the very food we eat. Science study lets
us understand the world in which we live. Let's face it, science