Caption: Jennifer Morgan with Andrew Zwicker, Ph.D., program head, science education program, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.
In May, I had the honor — and very deep pleasure — of meeting and giving a program for members of the science education department at the DOE Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL) last month. PPPL works with researchers around the globe to create on earth the conditions inside of stars in order to release fusion energy, a safe, clean and abundant energy source for the future. My program was about using the Montessori Cosmic Education Curriculum (Born with a Bang) as a scaffolding for teaching science and all subjects at the elementary level. Then the conversation took a turn that completely surprised me.
They were most fascinated with the combination of art, photographs, story, and science writing in a single book. Jerry Ross, one member of the science education staff had recently won the “Art of Science” competition held at Princeton, that selects images of beauty created in the course of scientific research. Dr. Andrew Zwicker, program head of the science education program speculated that now we see the beauty and artistic value of scientific inquiry… is there a way to flip that and use art to help further science discovery? He went on, “Is there a way to use art to see things differently?” Hmm, What a fascinating conversation inside a mega science research facility, one that I never expected!