Paul Crowther is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sheffield. He is author of over 90 astrophysics journal papers and current chair of UK time allocation committee for ground-based Gemini telescopes.
Science can be great fun, as can be testified by any parent watching their children tear around the hands-on activity zones of London’s Science Museum. Maintaining in children such a strong curiosity about how the world works throughout their education is essential for the UK to train the next generations of scientists and engineers. Yet, physics and chemistry are too often portrayed as boring, irrelevant subjects in the UK media, with scientists themselves characterised as eccentric boffins in white coats carrying out dangerous experiments.
It is only through scientific research that many of the greatest challenges facing humanity can be solved, whether the issue is clean energy, understanding climate change, or health issues facing an ageing population. My own discipline - astronomy - is one such branch of science that helps to maintain that interest at all ages, even if its direct economic benefits are uncertain