Nature 130, 270-271 (20 August 1932) | doi:10.1038/130270c0

The Workers' Educational Association and Science


AT the Annual Conference of the Workers' Educational Association last year, it was resolved “to investigate the possibilities of stimulating further interest in the study of science [that is, natural science] on a non-vocational basis” and the result of the investigation by the Executive Committee has now been circulated. To a scientific worker, it seems in some respects a strange document to be produced in 1932. It says, “The Adult Education Movement cannot afford to neglect scientific thought and knowledge. Ignorance of the influence of science should belong to the past” and then, “The study of science, in some of its branches, provided the approach is of the right character, is as attractive and has as great a bearing on social conditions as some of the social sciences”. As if the very foundations of social conditions did not rest upon heredity, and health, and the fight against disease, and the production of food, whether from the fisheries or agriculture, and the growing of the raw materials of commerce, and the constant battle against pests, whether they be parasites or plagues, and upon life itself! The Report says, further, “It is only in relation to the question as to how far and in what ways natural science influences and affects society, that our classes can maintain their interest in subjects of this character”. It is on strong ground, however, in holding that the teaching of natural science, in so far as it is to be promoted, should avoid the formal lines of a university degree course, and should be of such a character as to attract the uninitiated.