Appendix A | Appendix B |
Appendix C | Appendix D
My impressions of the Japan 2001 Science, Creativity and the Young
Mind Workshop Space Science Team
The workshop developed very well during its short period of existence.
Although their understanding of science was already on a high level,
the students could not follow our train of thought at a high speed in
the beginning. For the Japanese students there was also a language barrier,
which had to be broken, and which was best depicted in our first videoconferencing
session when Kako, our Japanese facilitator, had to translate word for
word into Japanese. Since Kako was not into science as much as the students,
I had to translate everything from Joe Kolecki's descriptions into more
generally understandable English, which was then conveyed to the Japanese
students by Kako. This language barrier from scientist to nonscientist
and from English to Japanese is clearly a barrier to scientific discussions
because it prevents the formation of an open discussion. In circumstances
like these, there is rather one best way of information transport and
that is from the teacher to the student directly.
To break this vicious circle, we gave the students the same information
over and over again, until they could explain things in their own words.
We showed them many pictures from the Internet to depict the situations
on Mars and Earth, which clearly enabled us, as well, to think through
the situation. After all students had something to talk about, we encouraged
the students, of their own freewill, to prepare a question for the next
videoconferencing session. So the second conference was more about asking.
The students clearly were fascinated by the way NASA presented their
theories. And though I sometimes thought, "Now this is getting
too simplistic...," it appeared to be a good way to present the
ideas. The spirit alone, that there was somebody who is in contact with
"higher forces," i.e. people who built the Space Shuttle etc.,
drove the students to understand what was behind all of it.
In the last two or even three days, every one of the group took something
home from the workshop. While some would only scratch the surface of
what we or Joe presented, others were developing the ideas further and
further, ranging from those who developed hypothesis after hypothesis,
to those who followed a single line of inquiry to the bitter end. While
I suspect the last one to be more scientific, the intuitive capacity
delivered by the other approach was as important, because it could be
developed further and further through their social evenings and nights.
Taking the experiences of these evenings and nights into the workshop
and getting into contact with Japanese culture was clearly a decisive
motivation factor, especially for the Japanese students who were feeling
more and more accepted.
Space Science offers many different perspectives. In the field of space
physics or geophysics we spanned a much bigger range during the five
days than I expected or was prepared for. Some of the ideas they wanted
to follow had to be taken out of up-to-date scientific references that
were unknown to us and told us, as supervisors, something about Mars
or Earth. What all of the participants clearly experienced during the
discussion with each other is the fact that no idea is understood before
you can explain it to somebody else in your own words. And that is a
task not easy to achieve for many people. Since people in England keep
talking about basic skills, I think the students clearly advanced in
their presentation skills day by day, which became obvious when listening
to their final talk. Each testing phase was not as good, straightforward,
and logical as the final talk, which was presented by a mixed team of
Japanese and English students in a very short time. Congratulations!