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A cartoon image of the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

A museum learning perspective

The team at the Royal Observatory Greenwich all have science backgrounds and many of us have worked as physics researchers too. Now we all work in the science learning team at the Royal Observatory Greenwich as astronomers and science communicators.

As we heard earlier in the course, science and discovery centres and museums are filled with people who feel passionately about their jobs. At the Royal Observatory Greenwich we may have moved away from active research but we have all found alternative ways of including science in our working lives so we can indulge our lifelong love of science. Here is why the science learning team all LOVE science:

Science is like an amazing window onto the world around us. It shows us things that are invisible to our human senses or beyond our everyday experience, on vast cosmic scales or smaller than atoms, and it allows us to understand the past and to predict what might happen in the future. It’s about the excitement of discovering things that no one knew about before. By asking questions and gathering evidence it allows us to see how everything in the Universe is connected to everything else. And by helping us to understand the world around us it can offer us the chance to make our world a better place. - Public Astronomer.

Science allows us to explain the world and the Universe in which we live–there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing how something works, but it is more the ‘thrill of the chase’ which I find exciting, the art of examining evidence and then eliminating all possibilities until only one explanation remains. In our quest to explain, we are brought together with scientists who are separated by not only distance and language, but also those separated in time, building successively on the work of those who have gone before, knowing that in turn our work will contribute to those who come after; this collaboration and sharing of a united purpose and a common passion is something I find deeply touching. The understanding we arrive at in this way allows exploration, a leap into the unknown, to think of new treatments, new methods, new materials, to coin a phrase, “to boldly go where no one has gone before!” In a nutshell, I love science because it has given us the tools needed to dream of the future and then turn that dream into reality. And I think that’s pretty neat! - Explainer.

I love science because it tells me I am part of something much bigger than I am. Humanity. All life on Earth. The Universe itself. I AM a part of the Universe. I am a part of the Universe that thinks. I am a part of the Universe that enables it to reflect on its own nature. I love science because it makes me feel more than human. More than a mere mortal mayfly. I am a single neuron in a global brain reaching out into space at the speed of light with a lifespan measured in millennia beyond counting. - Head of Science Learning

I love science for both its practical and philosophical benefits. It prolongs our lives through medical advances, giving us more time to share with our friends and family, and enriches our lifestyles through technology - our global communication and access to information are products of science. Whilst bringing the whole world closer to us, science has also generated far more questions about the natural world for future generations of scientists to work on, which will in turn yield benefits we haven’t even thought of yet, as well as even more questions! In just a few centuries, science has taken us from a primitive understanding of the natural world to a time in which we can trace the atoms in our bodies through generations of stars to the beginning of our universe. - Planetarium Astronomer

I love science because it provokes curiosity, creativity and contemplation. It makes me think about the world around us from the very small building blocks of life to the extremely large scale structures like the Universe. Science is like a forensic analysis of everything – it helps us understand how things work, how things may have been in the past and drives us to find out more in the future. The most bitter-sweet thing about science is discovering an explanation for things we don’t yet understand but then finding yourself with numerous more questions to answer that you hadn’t even thought about before! This constant quest of always having more to discover and understand is what makes science so infatuating. - Astronomy Education Officer

Do any of our reasons for loving science and astronomy resonate with you? Why?

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: the Solar System and Beyond

Royal Observatory Greenwich

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