Science Education and Outreach Lesson #1: Sex Sells

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Academics tend to shun pop culture, but some have learned how to use a famous face to shed light on their obscure little corner of science. Carl Hepburn at the University of Essex attracted attention a few years ago for not only figuring out how to weave the words 'Britney Spears' and 'semiconductor physics' in the same sentence, but for designing an entire online course around the two in The Britney Spears' Guide to Semiconductor Physics. Earlier this year, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, esteemed Columbia University economist and advisor to Kofi Annan, toured Kenya with actress Angelina Jolie for an MTV special The Diary of Angelina Jolie and Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa: "Spending two long days in Sauri, Sachs exposes Jolie to every corner of village life to reveal his vision for ending extreme poverty by 2015." So, how do you keep students from falling asleep in science class? You can try flashing pictures of a famous actress or pop music icon in between slides, but be careful about whom you choose, because today's pop sensation is tomorrow's tabloid fodder.
Submitted by elementlist on Dec 04, 2005
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