In Washington last month, a former NASA astronaut, Alvin Drew, proposed adding arts and humanities to the core subject areas of science, technology, education, and math (changing STEM to STEAM). Drew traveled to space twice, but once he returned to Earth, he found that he had trouble expressing what he saw.
According to inverse.com, Drew was part of a panel that gave the State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Address, a follow-up to what President Obama said about science during his final State of the Union.
Drew felt that the public tends to shy away from engaging with hard science because "it's easy to get lost while navigating equations and ethereal concepts," the article explains.
“If you have the best idea in the world but you can’t communicate it to everybody else, then that idea stays locked up in your head and you have to be able to convey that idea” Drew said. “A lot of what we do in science and technology is intimidating to people because you’re learning a new language…learning math is not different from learning Russian.” He expressed a need for people who can explain complicated scientific concepts in an engaging way.
According to inverse.com, White House Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith echoed Drew's assertions, bringing up Star Wars: The Force Awakens as an example: “It took a lot of technology to make those movies and also an extraordinary imagination and a lot of art,” Smith said. “Art and tech aren’t separate from each other.”
Find more articles about the STEAM movement and how arts education helps build a stronger, more creative workforce.
Photo credit:Sam Howzit, Flickr.