The Red-headed Stepchild of Science

Chemistry is perhaps the most abstract course students will have to take in their lives. In biology, students can see cells and dissect frogs, and just have to compare the micro and macroscopic realms. In physics, students will crash cars and swing pendulums to relate the symbolic and macroscopic realms. But in chemistry, we can only see our atoms and reactions indirectly. So, we ask students to connect the macroscopic, atomic, and symbolic realms, often in a single question.

I believe that this makes chemistry the most relevant of sciences to our students futures. If we want our students to succeed in an information economy, they must be prepared to deal with the abstract. Why would someone need am employee to answer a question they can google? Our students will need to be independent thinkers and be able to answer questions not found in Wikipedia or yahoo answers. While chemistry is often seen as the scariest of the core sciences, it is the one that pushes our students mental boundaries the furthest. And, perhaps, best prepares them for the future.

But, I do admit I might be biased.

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One thought on “The Red-headed Stepchild of Science

  1. I thought perhaps I was the only person thinking this way. Chemistry illiteracy will open us all to greater likelihood of more scares like the dihydrogen monoxide near-tragedy.

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