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How STEM Was Born: And Why Scientists Needs Humanists | Earl Lewis

在过去的十几二十年里 大量的评论家都谈论到
A number of commentators over the last decade maybe two decades have talked about what I
所谓的技能发展 也就是说 在你开始第一份工作时 是否具备
think of as skills development meaning do you have the requisite skills to be able to
enter your first job.
Can you read well?
Can you write well?
编程能力 等等
Do you have the ability to code, et cetera?
实际上我认为 我们经常会混淆了技能和技能发展与教育之间的关系
I actually think we often times confused skills and skills development with education.
An education is actually designed to actually encourage the individual to consider questions
前人没有思考过的问题 让个体真正有能力把大量的信息组装起来
they hadn’t considered before, to actually be able to assemble a vast array of information
and then to synthesize that information and to come up with perhaps what one would think
of as new answers.
It’s not about learning the most recent technique.
这其中的问题在于 如果你只学习现成的知识
And the challenge is that if you only talk about skills development the way knowledge
is produced these days a generation is 18 months.
因此这就意味着 等到你实际上结束学业的时候
And so that means by the time you’ve actually finish school often times you’re already behind
很多时候你已经落后于潮流 学的一些知识也已经过时
the curve and some of that information is obsolete.
如果你受过真正的教育并且主动学习 知道如何追求新知
If you’re really truly educated you then learn and you know how to go about pursuing the
new acquisition of information and that information that you can then synthesize and apply to
这就意味着你没有落后于潮流 你紧跟着时代的步伐
what you already know means then that you’re not behind the curve, you’re keeping pace
with the change that’s always occurring in both technology and other aspects of American
我爱STEM: 科学、技术、工程和数学
I love STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.
实际上 我记得大约在1998年 我在美国国家科学基金会的一个会议上
I actually can remember circa 1998 being at a meeting at the National Science Foundation
那时候这个单词还不是STEM 而是SMET: 科学 数学 工程和技术
and it wasn’t even STEM yet, it was SMET: science, math, engineering and technology.
And we were all sitting there going are you sure you want to call it SMET?
然后一年之后回首 这个单词由SMET变成了STEM 于是我们追问
And we came back a year later and it turned from being SMET to STEM and we go why is it
now STEM and not SMET?
他们说 嗯 不管你们相不相信 我们去了国会为SMET要资金
And they said well, believe it or not we were up on Capitol Hill asking for money for SMET
and one congress person’s aid goes, “Why do we want money for smut?”
Misunderstanding and miss hearing what was being said and they realized at that point
他们在那时意识到 他们需要调整字母顺序
that they need to re-order the alphabet.
And so hence was born STEM.
实际上 STEM还花了六七年时间才真正获得一些关注
The long story is that actually it still took another six or seven years for STEM to actually
gain some traction because a lot of both public policy makers and others thought of STEM as
类似干细胞的研究 他们对干细胞没多大兴趣
related to stem cell research and they were hesitant to get into the political cultural
wars over stem cell and stem cell research.
但通过科学界的同事们的坚持不懈 现在我们可以在所有地方听到它
My colleagues in the sciences persevered and we now hear all over the place we need to
我们需要在科学 技术 工程和数学上投资
make investments in science, technology, engineering and math.
事实上 我也确信我们需要这样做 意识到我所考虑的是当今世界的大挑战
While I actually believe we need to do so, I also realize that what I think of are these
grand challenges in the world, these gnarly problems that require us to really mobilize
我们解决不了那些问题 除非我们去找
a whole array of talent and research, we can’t answer those questions only by asking what
a scientist would think of it or an engineer.
The example I give is one of my favorite examples.
几年前 我出席一个亚特兰大的会议 当时我还在埃默里大学
I was in a meeting in Atlanta some years ago when I was still at Emory University and we
在乔治亚理工学院的工作结束了之后 我朋友们和另一些埃默里大学的同事们
were over at Georgia Tech and our friends at Georgia Tech and colleagues from Emory
and former officials from the CDC were sitting in the room talking about water and the need
to come up with a solution to clean water.
And they were telling a story about a West African village.
And in this West African village there was a need for clean water.
The women would trek every day down to the river that was contaminated and that was actually
leading to all kinds of infections that could be prevented.
So one of the international agencies provided research and dollars for them to then drill
a well.
工程师们来做了调查 然后在村子的正中间
The engineers came in and did their survey and drilled the well right in the middle of
the village.
然而令人惊讶的是 妇女们无视这口井 依旧去被污染的河边打水
To their surprise the women walked past the well and kept going to the contaminated river.
And the engineers were mystified.
Finally the engineers thought well maybe we should bring in some anthropologist and gender
experts to talk to the women.
他们这样做了 并且问了妇女们一个简单的问题:
They finally did and they asked the women a simple question, “Why are you walking past
a well and perfectly clean water to go to the river with the contaminated water?”
妇女们回答道 我们知道这里的水更好 但是并不知道
And the women said look, we understand that this water is better here, but you don’t understand
why we walk to the water.
那不仅仅是用来打水的 还是我们为离开村里的男人和孩子
It’s not only a utilitarian function of retrieving water, it’s a way for us to get away from
the menfolk in the village, from the children, to break up the routine of the domestic household.
其实 对我们来说 有一口井在那里并没有让我们更满意
For us to have this well right there actually doesn’t serve our purposes.
最后工程师们只有把井填掉 在更远的地方打了井
So they actually moved the well, they drilled it farther away to both assist the women and
这样既让她们保留自己的文化习惯 又提供了干净的水
allow them to have their cultural practices maintained and to also provide clean water.
但是在这个例子中 科学家需要人文学者 人文学者需要科学家
But it’s a case where in this case the scientists need a humanist and the humanists need a scientist.
我的问题是 我们发现并尝试解决的那些问题
And as I think about the kind of problems that we craft and the ones that we identify,
it’s really about what is the question being posed?
Who are the best interlocutors to be part of answering that question?
And how do we go about assembling the team?
对我来说 STEM很重要 但是当我们
And so for me at the very list least STEM is important, but all over the place when
遇到那些很棘手的挑战的问题时 我认为
we look at those grand challenges, those gnarly problems, I do come away thinking scientists
科学家需要人文学者 人文学者需要科学家 我们需要对方来帮助我们解决这些问题
need humanists and humanists need scientists and we need both to help us solve these problems.