About Think Physics

Why Think Physics?

Do young people like science?  Generally, yes.

Do they think that science is something they could do for a career?  Generally, no.

Why is there such a discrepancy between liking science and actually doing science in later life?  The TISME (Targetted Initiative on Science and Maths Education) research projects at King’s College London, were set up, in part, to look into this question.  One of the projects, ASPIRES, looked particularly at what influences young peoples’ likes and career choices between the ages of 10 – 14.  ASPIRES found that liking science is not enough and that students didn’t know where science could lead them.  As a result, they didn’t choose science.  Unfortunately, the findings from ASPIRES suggest that many of the past and current interventions to encourage young people to study science at higher levels won’t work.  Inspiring one-off ‘special’ activities with no link to the self-concept of the young person might be enjoyable, but they’re probably not going to be effective.  The ASPIRES team helpfully produced a summary of their recommendations ‘10 Facts and Fictions: the case for early education about STEM careers‘ which is well worth a read.

Here at Think Physics we like to think of ourselves as a post-ASPIRES outreach project, making use of their findings as a lens through which to view what we do.  We are also a gender equity project, and our aim is to encourage ALL students to consider the pathways that physics may lead them on.