While the rest of the nanoworld runs around squabbling over patents, control over technology, social. ethical and even philosophical issues there is one thing that everyone agrees on – we need more people to study science and engineering otherwise it really doesn’t matter how much taxpayers cash is pumped into nanotech.
For once the UK government agrees, with Margaret Hodge, the U.K. minister of state for industry and regions, saying in January this year that The science curriculum is “boring” and that ”encouraging enough people to follow science subjects is an “enormous challenge.” Gordon Graylish, European General Manager, Intel, in giving up on trying to maintain an R&D centre in Cambridge complained that “there is an almost deliberate streaming by the schools out of mathematics and sciences, based on the fact that those are harder subjects.”
This is not just a UK problem, it extends across Europe and North America, with a proliferation of soft subjects which allow schools to meet targets and universities to line their coffers from fees from overseas students.
While overhauling school curricula will take time, getting people enthusiastic about science is somewhat easier, especially if you combine it with what most 12-16 year old boys really want to do – play games! So, with our partners at Playgen we have just released the latest modules for the Nanomission game, and Business Week ran an article and a slide-show on the latest developments last week.
There is still time to get involved, with the Wellcome Trust joining the list of game sponsors, companies and organisations that have been providing both development costs and invaluable advice to ensure that Nanomission is not just a fun game, but the most realistic three dimensional simulation of the micro- and nano world to date.