tribulations of science
If science continues to fascinate young people,
why is it that they are so reluctant to study it? If medical and scientific
professions are still considered to be the most noble by the majority
of Europeans, why are fewer and fewer young people entering them? There
are clearly many facets to the problem which reflect weaknesses in the
teaching, the narrow scope of the careers and the way science is perceived
by the general public and young people in particular.
However, it must also be acknowledged that sciences
- in the plural - bear a share of the responsibility for their declining
popularity. Broken down into ever-increasing sub-divisions, they are 'indigestible'
to the general public for whom many research themes seem incomprehensible,
if not futile. Parallel to this fragmentation of categories is an overlapping
of tasks: the university researcher must also keep an eye on funding,
while the private sector researcher ignores commercial considerations
and technical applications at his peril. There is the ambiguity of sciences
as a source of progress but also one of fear, and of scientists driven
both by the desire to share their knowledge and to wield power and to
To a degree, the sciences are isolated, removed
from culture, excluded from debates, marginalised in the media. At a time
when their influence has never been so great, there is an urgent need
to work together to reintegrate sciences in society and kick-start the
dialogue between scientists and citizens.
the PDF file