THE FOREWORD by CNR Rao

Science, as taught in our schools generally encourages rote memorisation rather than actual understanding of concepts. Doing science by the way of experimenting is a culture which we as a nation ought to cultivate assiduously right from the primary school days if we want to truly develop our human potential. Unfortunately, this is not happening now. In this charming book, titled appropriately The Agenda of the Apprentice Scientist, Nicole Ostrowsky offers a ready-to-use set of experiments which help to develop the right attitude and approach to science. The book represents a quintessential science activity book modelled to teach you something every day of the year.

The agenda comprises 365 experiments (activities) that could be taken up one per day, each demonstrating a particular aspect of science. The book is designed to arouse the reader’s curiosity—an activity followed by a question which provokes you to seek the answer. Topics as diverse as optics, the solar system, probability and chromatography are explored in this manner through activities that are simple to perform, with easily available materials like matchsticks, paint, a bottle, a pen and paper. Some of the activities just require a pair of alert eyes and ears! By challenging the reader to solve problems independently, the book also encourages lateral thinking.

The illustrations in the book are an absolute delight and speak for themselves—scientists are cleverly depicted as lab coats that come alive in spite of not having a head, hands or feet—and one cannot help but fall in love with the over-enthusiastic little net.

The author, Nicole Ostrowsky, well known for her passion for imparting science knowledge through experiments is to be congratulated. Her little bank of suggested activities is well thought out and would help teachers (and parents) in making learning science a pleasurable experience for students. I am happy that Universities Press has come out with the English translation of this French book. I strongly recommend that it be made a part of every school library and every science teacher’s personal collection. It can also be made use of on a variety of occasions. Surely, a few minutes each day, or even once a week for one activity, would not cut too much into the available teaching time. I sincerely hope that the book will be used, for the benefits will be immense.

 

C N R Rao

National Research Professor and Honorary President,

Linus Pauling Research Professor Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore

the Agenda of the Apprentice Scientist

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