Thursday, July 25, 2013

The formidable challenge of science in the majority world

I am very proud to have my first paper published in the Journal of Chemical Education!

Moreover, I believe it concerns a very important topic
Connecting Resources for Tertiary Chemical Education with Scientists and Students in Developing Countries

The paper was written with Ross Jansen-van Vuuren (UQ) and Malcolm Buchanan (St. John's University, Tanzania)

The abstract is
The ability of developing countries to provide a sound tertiary chemical education is a key ingredient to the improvement of living standards and economic development within these countries. However, teaching undergraduate experimental chemistry and building research capacity in institutions based within these countries involves formidable challenges. These are not just a lack of funding and skilled teachers and technicians, but also take the form of cultural and language barriers. In the past three decades a diverse range of initiatives have aimed to address the situation. This article provides a summary of these while conveying realistic and concrete suggestions for how scientists based in industrialized nations can get involved, based on low-cost solutions with existing resources. The first step is being well informed about what has already been tried and what currently works.
Many of the same issues apply in physics. But, since my co-authors were chemists with relevant experience we focused on chemistry. In preparing the article I was struck by just how much is being done, how great the challenges are, and how people sometimes dive into this challenging enterprise without considering what else is going on and what has been tried before.  This is why we wrote the review. Hopefully, it will stimulate more efforts.

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