As a baby boomer I was very fortunate. I was able to grow up in a time when science and technology was interesting, easy to comprehend, non-threatening and most all fun. Oh and also easily accessible.
All areas of science were touted as good and positive. Would make live easier and much more pleasant. Most people welcomed new discoveries and innovations. Shows like Discovery and Watch Mister Wizard and The Bell Laboratory Science Series brought science into the home and made entertaining as well as informative. The 1958 episode of The Bell Laboratory Science Series – The Unchained Goddess dealt with weather and even mentioned their concern for climate change.
Watch Mister Wizard hosted and created by Don Herbert explained a vast number of scientific subjects with experiments and projects you could even do in you home. Like this one on Sound and Music or this on Electromagnetism.
Science was more accessible with books by Alfred Morgan and magazines that had projects you actually could build at home to demonstrate radio and electronic and chemistry principles, even X rays. Chemistry sets and electronics and electricity sets. 100 in 1 and 500 in 1 sets. With vacuum tubes and later transistors.
Edmund Scientific had nearly everything that you would need to experiment at home. Radio Shack, Allied, Lafayette, Olson.
But today’s scientific concepts are more difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain and demonstrate. How do you demonstrate green house gas. Radiation from radio active water or genetics ?
Science kits have been made safer but do much less, with the concern for people’s safety. Instead of offering easy to comprehend, non-threatening solutions, science now appears threatening and intrusive to a large portion of people. Worst of all they are expected to take what scientist say on faith. Just believe. Trust us…climate change is bad.
And it seems to come faster and faster. Alvin Toffler on steroids. And science now appears threatening. To your job, health, life style or beliefs. Science was now scary to a lot of people.
Maybe we need to make it not scary again.