Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Prof Alice says "how science works"

A friend tweeted to me that Professor Alice Roberts was giving a public lecture as the key note to the Bristol University "Children of the 90s" conference. So I signed myself and my partner up.

As those who have seen Professor Alice's TV programmes will know she gave a very engaging talk about the evolution of humans using evidence from fossil and ancient skeleton remains. The talk was entitled: ‘Nariokotome Boy: How can a one-and-a-half-million-year-old skeleton of a young boy shed light on what it means to be human?’

It was fascinating. I was particularly taken with the aspects showing how ideas have changed in my lifetime. Finding new pieces of evidence has forced scientists to consider even more deeply evolution. An interesting story was concerning scientific thinking about a skeleton named the Nariokotome boy. She said that his spine and ribs seemed to be very different from humans today, or at least scientists thought that until they found a plastic bag with further remains. Using these remains they ended up with a better picture of the boy and his anatomy.

During questioning prof Alice was asked about "aquatic ape theory". She commented that she didn't think much of it because scientists shouldn't come up with a theory and find evidence to support it, instead they should come up with a theory and find evidence to refute it, that is how science works, have a range of theories and as evidence is collected one will rise to the top.

I almost cheered when she said that. It really backs up what I am trying to do as a teacher of science.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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