Community evaluates value of science in current world

Junior+Helen+Bartlett+works+on+her+Chemistry+homework.+%22It+%5Bscience%5D+gives+you+what+you+need+to+uncover+the+truth%2C%22+she+said.+
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Community evaluates value of science in current world

Junior Helen Bartlett works on her Chemistry homework.

Junior Helen Bartlett works on her Chemistry homework. "It [science] gives you what you need to uncover the truth," she said.

Martha Sanchez

Junior Helen Bartlett works on her Chemistry homework. "It [science] gives you what you need to uncover the truth," she said.

Martha Sanchez

Martha Sanchez

Junior Helen Bartlett works on her Chemistry homework. "It [science] gives you what you need to uncover the truth," she said.

Martha Sanchez, RubicOnline Editor

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With the rising threat of climate change, more and more pressure has been placed on science as a subject. Science has the potential to unlock keys to the future of the planet and it’s in science classes that the inspiration to make these discoveries may strike. 

The science program at St. Paul Academy seeks to be such an inspiration. Junior Will Rathmanner explains why he thinks science is a necessary topic to understand.

“Science is kind of a gateway,” he explained, “once you understand the foundations of science you can understand the foundations of the world.”

Upper school Chemistry teacher Christine Schwichtenberg seems to agree. Schwichtenberg believes that science is not only important in the lab, but in real life as well.

“I think science is important because it’s important for students to learn to have scientific literacy. That way when they grow up, whether they become scientists or not, they end up reading newspapers or articles in the news. Science educations give students some sort of education to fall back on to understand what is real science and to have a discerning eye for the media,” she said.

In a political environment that’s really fraught with debate about what’s true or not, science is a method of evaluating in a relatively unbiased way the truth…or at least it gets at what is closer to the truth”

— US science teacher Ned Heckman

With issues such as climate change increasingly infiltrating our newspapers and media, having the scientific literacy Schwichtenberg talked about is ever more important.

“In a political environment that’s really fraught with debate about what’s true or not, science is a method of evaluating in a relatively unbiased way the truth…or at least it gets at what is closer to the truth,” Upper school science teacher Ned Heckman said.

In an era of debates about climate change, using science to uncover the truth can be an influential tool.  

Rathmanner, however, doesn’t only appreciate science for its abstract benefits.

“Science teaches us why things are the way that they are,” he said, “science helps you explain and understand the world.”

These explanations are part of what drew Schwichtenberg to teaching. While she had a love for science, what she truly wanted to do was teach.

“I’m a teacher first,” Schwichtenberg said, “It wasn’t about teaching science, it was about teaching and science provided a good chance to teach.”

While sophomore Milo Waltenbaugh may not share Schwichtenberg, Rathmanner and Heckman’s passion for science, he appreciates the lessons the subject teaches him.

“Science has never been my best subject,” he said, “but I think it’s incredibly important for me to learn in the face of climate change and the world.”

Junior Helen Bartlett agrees on its importance.

“It gives you what you need to uncover the truth,” she said.

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