Governor proclaims science week

February 19, 1992|By Douglas Birch | Douglas Birch,Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- Ralph Wainwright, an outgoing 10-year-old, likes science in general and dinosaurs in particular, mostly because "I like the bones."

Gov. William Donald Schaefer says he likes science and technology, too, and proved it yesterday by declaring April 26 to May 3 "Maryland Science Week."

The governor made the announcement at a State House news conference attended by Ralph and 16 other students from Annapolis Elementary School.

The state plans to publish a calendar of science events and a directory of science centers, to schedule class visits to research facilities and to distribute free federal publications on science education.

McDonald's restaurants will use tray- liners printed with science facts and puzzles.

The students and Governor Schaefer applauded enthusiastically for Terry Nixon and Patricia Baker of the Maryland Science Center.

Ms. Nixon and Ms. Baker brought balloons and dry ice and beakers of bubbling liquids to dazzle their young audience.

After the governor poured some liquid nitrogen into a container of hot water, creating a thick burst of fog, he expressed disappointment that research in some areas hasn't gone further.

"Is there a way to make the press disappear?" he wondered, wearing safety goggles and thick black rubber gloves.

Mr. Schaefer said he was concerned about an Educational Testing Service study of 175,000 9-year-old and 13-year-old students in 20 nations last year.

The study showed that the top 10 percent of U.S. students are among the best in the world in science and math, but the remaining 90 percent are among the worst.

That's not good news for Maryland, said Dr. Michael M. E. Johns, dean of the Johns Hopkins University medical faculty and co-chairman of a blue-ribbon panel formed to plan and promote science week activities.

The state's economy relies heavily on research and development in fields from aerospace to biotechnology, Dr. Johns said.

"Maryland has more scientists per square mile than any state in the union," he said. "So this is very, very important to us."

The key to fostering science, Governor Schaefer said, is promoting science education in elementary and middle schools.

"If you can get to young people between the ages of 6 and 12, and get them interested in science, there's a real possibility they will become the scientists we need in America," he said.

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