Scientists Storytelling and Nationwide Science Education Center Activities
The solid foundation of science transcends mere rhetoric; it necessitates practical manifestation, particularly through engagement with children and high school students, in order to actively propagate scientific concepts for sustainable development. It is noteworthy that science education centers in universities throughout Taiwan have steadfastly and commendably dedicated themselves to this mission over the years.
In response to the call for the “International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD),” the Science Promotion and Engagement Center (hereafter referred to as SPEC) has proactively initiated talks and resource sharing among science education centers across Taiwan to promote IYBSSD events. This effort was aimed at elevating public awareness of basic science and sustainable development. Various science popularization and science education-related activities centered on basic science and sustainable development have been organized nationwide. A collective effort involving seven prominent institutions, including National Taiwan University, Tamkang University, National Central University, National Tsing Hua University, National Chung Cheng University, National Cheng Kung University, and National Kaohsiung University, has been orchestrated. These activities encompass a diverse range of events such as public science lectures, interactive scientific workshops, and science week events. The activities designed by each science education center serve as a platform to deepen the society’s understanding of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the pivotal role of basic science in accomplishing these objectives, as the participating entities are encouraged to infuse more content related to sustainable goals into these activities. Notably, through local connections established by the science education centers, this initiative ensures widespread coverage across every region of Taiwan, effectively spreading the ideals of IYBSSD to all townships and areas in Taiwan.
In addition, as sustainable societal development hinges on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and reducing regional inequalities, SPEC collaborates with science education centers across Taiwan to mobilize a hundred scientists to conduct “Science Lectures,” “Scientific Experiment Demonstrations,” and “Exploring Science” services in many remote rural high schools in Taiwan. The objective is to foster scientific equity and establish enduring collaborative channels between science education centers and rural high schools. Besides aligning with the SDGs, this initiative holds significant and far-reaching benefits in galvanizing the domestic academic community to drive the cause of scientific education and leverage the influence of scientific knowledge. Currently, a total of 106 scientists have actively participated in collectively organizing 152 events with the involvement of 120 schools and various community organizations. These scientists are dispersed across different regions of Taiwan, covering various critical scientific domains, including chemistry, physics, ecology, astronomy, AI, and more. They explain scientific principles in an accessible manner, employ experiments for demonstration, and even transport less commonly encountered knowledge and equipment to remote regions, guiding young students to engage in innovative thinking. These activities encompass nearly all categories of the SDGs, with scientists undertaking the responsibility of venturing beyond the laboratory to pass on the mission of sustainability to future generations. Whether in urban or rural settings, they serve as beacons of hope, actively participating in the journey to promote sustainable development. Guided by interdisciplinary experts, they lead the next generation through the mist of science, sowing the seeds of sustainability in young minds and authentically embodying the core concept of “Cultivating Science, Sustaining Taiwan.”
Additionally, SPEC annually subsidizes over forty domestic academic conferences in various natural science fields, including physics, chemistry, earth sciences, and mathematics. By fostering connections between SPEC and domestic academic communities, academic institutions are encouraged to incorporate thematic forums or subgroup meetings aligned with SDG themes into academic conferences scheduled between July 2022 and June 2023. This effort fosters a series of academic activities resonating with the promotion of basic science for sustainable development. These activities include annual meetings of influential domestic academic instutitions, such as the 2023 Taiwan Mathematical Society Annual Meeting, the 2023 Annual Meeting of The Physical Society of Taiwan, and the 2023 Chemistry National Meeting, among the others. In addition, there are interdisciplinary conferences organized by SPEC, including the 2022 NSTC Conference for New Faculty and Researchers, the 2022 NSTC Conference for Women Scientists in the Field of Natural Sciences, the Forum and Annual Meeting of Academic Summit Program, and the Forum and Annual Meeting for the Science Vanguard Research Program, to name a few. The interconnected series of academic conferences aligned with SDG themes will deepen the appreciations of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals within the domestic academic research community, foster interdisciplinary collaboration to address SDG-related issues, showcase Taiwan’s exceptional research in the field of natural sciences, and correspondingly underscore the critical role of basic science in the pursuit of sustainable development.