Sunday, January 22, 2012

A gaping hole in philantropy (2)

A great TED talk given by winners of the 2011 Google Science Fair shows that high school students can perform useful research if given the chance. These students were persistent and lucky enough to find a researcher who could give them access to a lab. Though it is difficult to know the exact number, a multitude of students must have given up before getting access to research facilities.

It is clearly not cost effective for individual researchers to give access to their lab to research savvy high school students on weekends, but society loses a great deal by not sponsoring these students.

Specialized schools in the fields of sports, ballet, music and theater exist already. Why aren't there any high schools which let teenagers do self-directed research in lieu of classes for half the school day?

Many parents already teach their profession to their children, but giving access to equipment and materials in the workplace is usually not possible. Now that the price of equipment has fallen enough for hobbyists to open labs such as Genspace, why can't specialized schools offer such equipment too?

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