Young people’s interest for technology and the natural sciences is falling. Children around the age of 10 have relatively high interest, but six years later this interest sinks dramatically. This can inhibit Sweden’s innovation. But a research team at Linköping University have decided to turn the tide. Anders Ynnerman, professor of scientific visualisation and the director of the Visualisation Centre C, regards young people’s reduced interest as a challenge that we both should and must confront. Anders founded Visualisation Centre C ten years ago. He has a passion for making scientific information available to all, both young and old.
New investment in visualisation lab
A new and unique visualisation lab is to be founded: the Exploranation Laboratory. The lab will develop the teaching methods of the future. The lab uses research visualisation to make new discoveries (exploration) and to explain the results of research to the public (explanation). Hence the name Exploranation. Visualisation technology can be found in many museums around the world, not just at the Visualisation Centre C in Norrköping. However, the research being done at Linköping University and the Visualisation Centre is unique.
“This is perhaps the only place in the world where research is being carried out in such close proximity to a science centre that is open for everybody”, says Anders Ynnerman, who is now looking for backing for the initiative.
Theme - Climate and sustainability
The new lab will try to help young people understand facts and relationships in a way that was not previously possible. Through visualisation, the lab’s visitors can explore and interact with scientific material. In the centre of the premises sits a spinning globe. Data is projected on it in real time, helping visitors understand what is happening in the world.
“Future generations, those who are growing up now, are very dependent on visualisation.
“By using the same visualisation that we use for explaining things to expert, we can also make complex phenomena understandable for both children and adults. This also helps to raise teachers’ digital competence”, says Anders Ynnerman. He hopes that his research into scientific visualisation will make waves in the Swedish school system.
“Exploranation is all about developing the teaching methods of tomorrow. We’ve previously taken children on trips to space and into the human body, and now we’re going to help them to understand evolution. Who knows what’s next? The goal of the project is to get more young people interested in technology and the natural sciences and, when the time comes, to get them to apply to be engineers.” Anders believes that this, in the long-run, will be crucial for Swedish business.
“I can’t imagine a better cause for donors than helping the next generation to step into the world of knowledge”, he stresses.