Paul Stacey

Year of Science

Over the summer I’ve had a special assignment working on a new Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development initiative called the Year of Science. Today, at Science World, the Premier proclaimed the 2010-11 school year the “Year of Science” and officially launched the web site. Here is the News Release.

Check it out at

My role on this project has been to support the design, development and hosting of the Year of Science web site with our partners Fjord West and Simon Fraser University. Timelines have been short and work intense but I’ve really enjoyed being part of the process and seeing the idea transform from information architecture, to wireframe, to creative and technical development resulting in a online interactive end user experience. I’ve also really enjoyed the process of creating a mobile version of the site which optimizes the experience for those accessing it through their iPhone, Blackberry or other mobile device.

A strong science capacity is key to supporting BC’s shift to a knowledge based economy. The Year of Science initiative, and its web site, is intended to increase awareness and interest in science, explore issues impacting capacity development, and create an action plan to build up and sustain BC’s science capabilities.

The web site is initially targeted at youth. It profiles scientists and their achievements. It showcases BC science centres, museums, businesses and the academic community. Resources for getting involved in science are provided including a calendar of events and activities for parents, grandparents, and teachers to do with children. I like the Latest News section and in particular the Popular News which is generated based on web site visitors clicking on items they “Like”. The site is very rich visually with lots of photos and Youtube videos related to science. All this just to start and much more to come!

Part of my interest in the Year of Science web site has been based on its similarity to an online event I did a few years ago called Dare2BDigital which sought to promote and highlight BC public post secondary institutions online learning offerings. Dare2BDigital was a six week long online event using open house, reality television show, and social networking approaches with teams of students solving fun and interactive online learning challenges. If you’d like to read more about Dare2BDigital the summary report is available here D2BDReport3a. Dare2BDigital was award winning, great fun and I expect the Year of Science will be too.

Throughout my time working on this Year of Science initiative I’ve been finding myself constantly humming a 1980’s Thomas Dolby song “She Blinded Me With Science“. The song is about a scientist who falls in love with his lab assistant. For some reason the way the grey-haired bespectacled therapist shouts out “Science” is particularly memorable and I find myself shouting out “Science” in a similar fashion whenever conversation around the dinner table references something to do with science. Turns out I’m not the only one as the part in the video was played by Magnus Pyke a famous TV show host known for bringing science to a lay audience through a children’s educational show in England. His trademark was yelling “Science” throughout the show. When he retired, he got rather tired of people running up to him yelling out “Science”. If you run up to me yelling “Science” I’ll totally understand.

The Year of Science initiative has the potential to build a culture of science within BC and cultivate a broader awareness of the importance of science to BC’s social and economic prosperity. I hope you enjoy exploring the resources and activities on the Year of Science site and join us in building BC’s science future.

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