A tale of two cultures

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Science  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 371
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0588

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  • Expanding disparities in science

    Holt is concerned that society is decreasing understanding to science (1). Meanwhile, Hockfield insists that we are in scientific golden age (2). I consider that the gap between these two shows a disparity in accesses to science.
    In the field of computer science around 2000, researchers and engineers purchased their personal computer at their own cost, and they performed experiments and improved their skills. They installed Linux on outdated Windows machines and make them a 24-hour running server to run the programs. Even if the initial cost is 200,000 yens, second-hand goods after four years use estimate 0 yen by depreciation according to Japanese accounting standard. Thus, it can be said that they did it for free.
    Since around 2012 when the study of deep learning was published, artificial intelligence research revived, and research requiring enormous computer resources are increasing. To buy one server with GPU and 64 GB-memory for big data analysis, it costs at least 20 thousand dollars nowadays. In other words, the performance of research depends on project funds. Only the chosen people can gain a chance to access to computer resources and enhance their skills at the earlier career stage because it became an un-payable cost as middle or lower class individuals. Although the industry is annoyed with the shortage of data scientists, institutes will compete for the chosen people if they do not prepare resources and train talents.
    Studies about compute...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: A tale of two cultures

    Please Don't Forget About the Role of Science Teachers

    In his editorial “A tale of two cultures” (26 January 2018), Rush Holt argues that “scientists must rebuild public understanding of science.” I certainly agree that scientists must improve how they communicate new (and fundamental) scientific knowledge to the public. However, as a public high school science teacher, I was surprised that Holt put the entire task on the shoulders of scientists while neglecting to mention the critical role science educators like I play in educating our citizenry in “what science is and how it works.” Indeed, far and away the most important goal I have for my high school students, above any content we cover, is that they learn to think like scientists. Getting students to think like scientists is not easy and it is not accomplished in a single lesson or a curriculum unit. Getting students to think like scientists involves constant practice in the classroom and lab on the design and execution of controlled experiments, the quantitative reasoning skills of data analysis with statistics, and engaging in argumentation where claims are backed with logical reasoning and evidence. As I recently argued in an American Biology Teacher paper1, science educators must help students understand how to use the logical strategies of scientific reasoning and how to employ the procedures for generating meaningful and credible knowledge that will contribute to the formation of effective, evidence...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Balancing the duality (yin and yang) plays a key role in building a happy and healthy society

    Rush Holt wrote an article entitled "A tale of two cultures" (1). He described the duality of two cultures. He also stated in the beginning that "It is the best of times. It is the worst of times". Yin and yang in Chinese philosophy describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary. Yin-yang symbol shows an ideal balanced state between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section. George Ohsawa also mentioned the balance of yin and yang in his book (2): the bigger the front, the bigger the back, illness is the doorway to health, tragedy turns to comedy, and disasters turn out to be blessings. Remember that the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole. In conclusion, we have to cope with two cultures in real and we must balance them for building a happy and healthy society.

    1. Rush Holt, "A tale of two cultures," Science 26 Jan 2018: Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 371
    2. George Ohsawa, "You are all sanpaku," 1965

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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