Posted by: COSI | June 16, 2009

Science vs Sports?

I watched with great interest and enthusiasm as my old Pittsburgh Penguins defied the odds and won the Stanley Cup championships in hockey.  I was in Pittsburgh the day after and saw the front page special feature coverage, the signs already up around town, and the focus of a community on the success of this small group of young professional athletes.

While driving in town, I drove through the community where Lt. Colonel Mike Fincke grew up.  You might have seen one of my earlier blogs where Mike, a former student of mine, had called me from the International Space Station he was commanding at the time just before returning to earth from his second 6 month space mission.

On the side of the road were little signs commemorating Mike as a local boy made good as an astronaut.  Not much, but at least something.

So which accomplishment counts for more ultimately?

A good friend of mine, Doug King, who runs the St. Louis Science Center often asks, “What would it take to get a town to celebrate being a science town as much as being a sports town?”

Maybe it sounds crazy, but which set of values is more important to our ultimate national strength, economic vitality and security?  Sports or science?

Science center annual attendance in the US exceeds NFL and NASCAR combined—what does that say?

So is it possible that if we would all work together to highlight the science strengths of Columbus we could create a community pride around being a great science town?

Whadya think?



  1. There are definitely good examples of cities and regions that celebrate their contributions to science and technological achievement – think about Houston, home to NASA, or Silicon Valley, home to cutting-edge tech firms. It’s money that speaks the loudest: when local jobs are at stake, fostering science becomes paramount. Great post, David.

  2. in Italy happens the same thing:

    soccer or science?
    SOCCER, obviously

  3. Maybe the emphasis shouldn’t be on community pride. That is a notion that will not fly with the current generation of young people. The media needs to highlight science and cover it’s success stories and that would be a good start. Maybe local news stations should have a ‘science’ section right after the sport section 🙂

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