News from the world of maths: The Big Questions

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Big Questions

As part of this year's National Science and Engineering Week, the BA are running a project called The Big Questions, which challenges the public to pose their burning science and engineering questions through live events, online and via the media.

Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the BA, said:

"Questioning is at the heart of scientific discovery. From evolution to space exploration British scientists have always been courageous in asking and solving some of the big questions of their time. In doing so, they have expanded our knowledge, earned our respect and enriched our lives. We want to celebrate our nation’s innate curiosity by encouraging the public to share with us their big questions on life, the universe and beyond. In return, we will ask some of our best scientific brains to come up with an answer."

Helping to answer the questions are Oxford University Press, Brainiac LIVE!, The Punk Scientists, The British Library and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Questions that have been asked already include:

  • I understand that DNA is the basis for all life on Earth - but how could such a complex molecule come into existence? Phil Parry from Berkshire (age 55+)
  • Why does different music trigger different emotions? Paige Day from Hampshire (age 5-14)

Scientists who have posted their own questions include:

  • Science writer Simon Singh (who has been featured on Plus) asked: "Computers can beat humans at chess, but which games are still dominated by humans?"
  • Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State (Minister for Science and Innovation) asked: "How much life is there left in our planet?"

You can find a list of the questions that have been posed so far, or post your own question, at: http://bigquestion.wordpress.com/. The event will be launched to the national media on 6th March. The BA is currently looking for more scientists and experts to help answer some questions, and so if you know the answers to any of the questions posed and want to help out, you can answer by posting on their blog.

Apart from online, other Big Questions are going to be answered at events organised by the Science Museum, Jodrell Bank, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Cambridge Science Festival and the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

posted by westius @ 5:01 PM

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