In advance of Britain’s National Science and Engineering Week, 1,000 primary and secondary school children were given a test asking them questions like, Who was the first man on the moon? One in 10 said it was Buzz Lightyear, the Tim Allen-voiced character from the Toy Story movies. Other responses included: Luke Skywalker, Sir Richard Branson, and Lance Armstrong.
“While some findings raise a smile, it suggests that school children aren’t tuned into our scientific heroes in the same way that they might be to sporting or music legends,” Dr. Pam Waddell told The Telegraph. And don’t forget actors! Her study also shows that while 70 percent of nine to 10-year-olds said they would rather win a Nobel prize for science than an Oscar, only 33 percent of 11 to 15-year-olds did.
This article made me remember several things:
• The kid in my third grade class who, when asked what country we lived in, responded “Keystone” because one of the local new affiliates had promos saying “This is Keystone Country”
• How I really liked a boy in sixth grade because he wore a turtleneck with dinosaurs on it, and how in freshman biology, I wrote a rap song about hawks to the B-side instrumental of “Parents Just Don’t Understand” for a project. I may still have chosen an Oscar, but did I not show some interest in science?
• How intimidated I was as a junior in college studying art history in London for a semester, eavesdropping on the little British children on museum visits answering their teachers’ questions more articulately than I could’ve… Knowing they’re not all that smart makes me happy. I’m not gonna lie.
Anything stupid or adorkable you said or did as a child that you’d like to confess now? The lines are open.