“The Interface between Science & Society” by Fred

Science is more relevant to society than ever before; from pandemics and vaccines to the advent of artificial intelligence, science and engineering has transformed, and is continuing to transform how we live. Examples of this are all around us; you need only to look as far as your phone to see how machine learning engineers have transformed how we view media and participate in debate and protest, the medicines in your bathroom to see how chemists have transformed public health, the list is endless.

As a new generation of scientists, engineers, doctors, and mathematicians, we need to ask ourselves how our work impacts people’s lives; is Al going to cause mass unemployment; are satellites going to render the solar system unobservable; is sustainable energy going to save the planet or delay the inevitable? Scientists NEED to question these things.

I believe we can learn a great deal about the world by applying the scientific method; to look at what is in front of us, draw a conclusion, and then test that conclusion by trying to falsify it in every way we can. This method not only helps us explain natural phenomena but also helps us explain things we see in human society. Indeed, many disciplines which were previously unaffected or ignorant of science are now employing its methods; psychologists are conducting experiments in order to learn more about the mind; sociologists are creating social experiments to analyse whether race affects how people are treated in school; business analysts are using data to draw conclusions about and identify trends in markets.

It is for these reasons that we founded the science club; a forum in which students can come to present and discuss issues which matter to them, while also developing research and discussion skills that will assist them later in their careers. Fundamentally, we want participants to think about what it means to be a scientist in the twenty-first century, an age of unprecedented, rapid change.

Fred, an A-Level student at Cherwell College Oxford, who recently delivered a presentation on the outcomes of COP26 at our weekly Science Club meeting. Fred currently reads Physics, Maths, and Chemistry at Cherwell College Oxford, with the intention of later studying  Further Maths and Computer Science.  

He is an active participant of the Science Club – a student-led society for those interested in science, technology, engineering, maths, and computer science. In addition to his many duties and responsibilities, both academic and extra-curricular, Fred is also preparing for the British Physics Olympiad’s Senior Physics Challenge.