Book launch leads campaign to revolutionise school science

13/08/2021 | 3 mins

An international team of academics led by Australia is leading a push to introduce a radical new school science curriculum, spearheaded by a book to be launched next week to coincide with National Science Week. 

Science luminaries including two former winners of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science are campaigning to take school science from the 19th century and place it firmly in the 21st century with the launch of a new curriculum called Einstein-First.

The University of Western Australia’s Chancellor Robert French AO will launch the new book, Teaching Einsteinian Physics in Schools, which introduces Einsteinian science to teachers at the level needed for both primary and middle school. 

Led by The University of Western Australia’s Emeritus Professor David Blair and the University of Oslo’s Dr Magdalena Kersting, the book advocates complete replacement of obsolete concepts with the Einsteinian concepts that underpin all modern technology.

Emeritus Professor Blair and Professor Susan Scott, two of the joint winners of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science in 2020, said it was almost unbelievable that in a world of black hole discoveries and quantum computers, school students were still being taught obsolete 19th century science. 

“No wonder most teenagers think science is boring,” Professor Blair said.

Project coordinator Dr Jyoti Kaur said the scientists were not trying to turn children into little Einsteins.

“We believe everyone has the right to share our best understanding of reality, which is all based on the science of Einstein,” Dr Kaur said.

“Kids love it because it’s easy, it’s fun and because it explains things in a way they can understand.

“It is shocking that most children leave school without knowing why tiny amounts of CO2 cause climate change, why the sun burns, how solar panels make electricity, and how smart phones work.

“Our future depends on technology. We turn kids off STEM by teaching them old stuff and not giving them credit for an ability to understand Einsteinian concepts.

“Children learn quantum concepts with ease. Adults have trouble because it contradicts the 19th century science they learnt at school, but our activity-first approach makes it easy for them too.”

The project team has already received $1.5 million in Federal and State funding. At the book launch, to be held on campus on Wednesday 18 August, the team will also announce a campaign for private sector contributions so that the already-proven program can be rolled out online to all Australian schools.

The team will also provide schools with renewable energy kits to allow students to power drills, lights and electrolysers using solar energy.

Several high tech companies have already announced support for the program.

Media references

Simone Hewett, UWA Media & PR Manager, 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716

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