Posted by: gillarbuthnott | September 7, 2016

Wonderful science, but down with boffins!

Image result for young scientistsThe Times on Friday had a report about something called the Breakthrough Junior Challenge – a competition aimed at young people, in which they make a video to explain a scientific concept. It’s a fantastic idea, and the prizes are huge! Do follow the link and find out more if you know someone who’s the right age.

Here’s a video intro to whet your appetite.

My one niggle about the Times piece is the headline: ‘Riches await junior boffin with a big idea‘ It’s the b-word that bothers me… It’s incredibly off-putting to young people. Have you ever heard a teenager say they want to be a boffin? For that matter, have you ever heard anyone say they want to be a boffin? I’ve been involved with a group of people trying to encourage the reading of science books for pleasure, and this is one of the specific things that has been mentioned (and this is based on research, not just on my prejudices) as putting people off. It feeds into the idea that somehow scientists aren’t normal.

No more boffins, please. Scientists are humans too.

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