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The Drake Equation | Posted in Earth and Space Science
The Drake equation is not directly used by scientists in their research. Rather it is often used when talking about life in the universe to non-scientists, such as in astrobiology courses, as James mentioned. One of the keynote addresses I sometimes deliver is on astrobiology, and I discuss the Drake equation quite a lot, as it relates to many fascinating topics regarding the development of life in the universe, where we would expect to find life, and how common we might expect life to be.
The purpose of the Drake equation is not to give a precise answer to that fundamental question -- How many technological civilizations are in our galaxy? -- but to form the basis of discussions by presenting various types of information that we would need to know, if we wanted to answer that question.
So basically the Drake equation is a statement that "stimulates intellectual curiosity about the universe around us, for helping us to understand that life as we know it is the end product of a natural, cosmic evolution, and for helping us realize how much we are a part of that universe." (https://www.seti.org/drakeequation)
What the equation and the search for life has done is focus science on some of the issues concerning life in the universe, specifically the development of life starting with chemical processes, the development of multi-cellular life, and the development of intelligence.
Getting girls involved in Science | Posted in Elementary Science
I agree with a lot of the responses here. I think that a way to get students, especially girls, involved in science is to have hands on activities. Children love to "do" things, so if they are engaged with fun and unique experiments, they will love it. It is also important to make sure they are working in groups. I think it would be helpful to balance out the groups with more advanced children and children that need more help. This allows peer-teaching. Overall, it is important to makes sure science is fun and enjoyable. If you are enjoying science, your students will most likely enjoy it!
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