Aims and Objectives
Critical experiments: a globally and young-scientist designed, interdisciplinary course for undergraduate students
Researchers in all disciplines struggle to come up with meaningful answers for complex questions. An approach common to many fields of study is to manipulate some aspects of the world experimentally then measure the results. In some disciplines notions of what constitutes a good approach to experimentation were formalized decades ago, and this dogma can impede young researchers seeking to incorporate new data or perspectives. Young scientists seeking to innovate face the brunt of these restrictions. Future innovations in science will require a broader perspective on experimental design and its limitations.
The experiment as we know it is changing, yet undergraduate scientific education still reiterates traditional methods and rarely offers critical insights on the experiment and how it is designed. For those students who are trained in such insights (e.g. historians, philosophers and social scientists), they rarely get to engage with science students who are actually undertaking experiments, and so their criticisms may be divorced from practical realities. Our solution is to establish a working group with the purpose of designing an undergraduate curriculum for a course tentatively called “Critical Experiments”, which offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the experiment as a form, looking into how it is being questioned, celebrated, replicated and pushed in new directions across fields of science.
We believe that as leading young scientists in the GYA we have an important role to play in the education of the future generations of scientists, including encouraging critical and innovative thought on how science gets done. If GYA is to progress and innovate in how science gets done in the world, it needs to tackle some of the complex issues regarding how scientific evidence is generated at the level of higher education.
This GYA Incubator group started work in January 2020.
Watch the group’s video for the 2020 GYA e-Annual General Meeting here
Picture: “Chemical experiment” by clement127, CC-NY-BY-ND 2.0