A former colleague from ICIS Chemical Business (the magazine I work for) asked how could the chemical industry help play a part in energizing teaching and putting the flair back into teenage science.
One sure-fire way to attract teenagers and young adults (even old crones like me) is to put science on their electronic brainwaves especially via video games and the internet. Just look at the growth of the billion-dollar educational toys market!
For example, maybe the chemical industry can design a website-based game where teenagers can be chlorine atoms and find out if they will either explode or create beautiful products together if they hook up with several of their nitrogen and hydrogen buddies under a certain atmospheric condition...
To get to my point, I mentioned attending the Science of Survival Exhibit in Liberty Science Center in New Jersey last week, and the idea of creating your own sustainable city in 2050 using interactive games is absolutely brilliant. You get to choose your lifestyle of living involving food and drink, mode of transportation, the stuff that you enjoy, the place you live in, and finally find out how that lifestyle will affect your future.
The exhibition also offers the opportunity to see new inventions designed to make the best use of the planet's resources. Ever heard of the Eglu Chicken house or the Toilet-lid sink? Your kitchen countertops can also be made out of recycled flip-flops or recycled aluminum cans, while solar grill or solar oven can cook your food no problem.
I heard from the chemical company BASF (one of the exhibit's sponsor) that Japan will probably use fuel cells to run their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers in the very near future.
By the way, did you know that it takes 25 bathtubs worth of water to grow enough cotton to make a t-shirt? Could it be that polyester (especially recycled polyester such as Teijin's technology) could be a better option for my sustainable future?
To learn more, just check out the video below courtesy of Malinda Campbell, the exhibit's creative director, who help me navigate in building my sort-of sustainable future complete with green shopping malls.