In the year 2012, make science LAUD has seemed to become the mission of a number of institutes, organizations and governments. Examples? Crowd-funding, where scientists ask directly to people to support their research because is so COOL (and important), counts hundreds of projects funded , with this year #SciFund challenge raising over 100.000$ in only 1 month of efforts. Another attempt was performed by the EU Research and Innovation office to promote the entrance of young women in academia with a questionable (but in my opinion brilliant) video to make science look like “a girl thing”.
The mission in one: we must state clearly that Science is cool, it is an attractive product/service that you (future scientist) may wanna be involved in. Making science look like just another job, or even something funny, is believed to increase the number to people that decide to embarrass the fine art of math, physic, chemistry and biology.
The quintessence of such mission has been revealed this week: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a holy temple of science education, set up a reality show that follows dreams and frustrations of a class of 14 students that step into a chemistry laboratory for the very first time. This production is a copy-and-paste of the well-trained TV-show format, which makes “normal people” look like stars, and puts under the spotlight a new “anonymous”: the geek.
The geek web population is literally exploding of joy (and I am so much with them!) for seeing finally the MIT from a much closer look then it has ever been. What does it feels like being a student of MIT? These 14 lucky kids suddenly became people we identify ourself with: young promises of mathematic, physic and engineering that are facing a number of challenges that separate them from their rewards: the secrets doors of science that leads to new discoveries.
As in any respectable reality show, there is an awesome price: students that will pass the course will gain access to the UROP. The UROP! Yes, you got it right: the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, where students gain access to REAL labs, to make REAL research, with REAL scientists! From the “show” of education, to the real world of rocket science. And the paradigm of the reality show if finally completed.
All these overwhelming geekyness made my nose bleed. No worries, nothing that a couple of episodes of The Big Bang Theory cannot solve.