Serious Fun with Interdisciplinary Computer Science
It is very important that scientists enthuse the next generation in their subjects through public engagement activities. Public engagement is critical both to ensure we have an educated society that can take part in informed debate, and to set up the pipeline that leads to future researchers. This is especially important for interdisciplinary science.
cs4fn (www.cs4fn.org) is one successful approach to this. Based at Queen Mary, University of London and funded by EPSRC with support from Google, it is an international campaign that presents leading edge research in fun, offbeat ways to excite kids about interdisciplinary computing topics. We have subscribers to our magazines in over 80 countries and our resources are used by universities across the UK, and in Europe and North America. We will discuss the cs4fn approach and demonstrate how we use interdisciplinary computer science topics to enthuse school students: we go head to head with an 'intelligent piece of paper'; build working 'brains' out of rope and toilet roll; do computer science magic where the audience are challenged to work out how the tricks work, and play 20-questions to work out how best to help a person with locked-in syndrome to communicate. In doing so we explore the links between computer science and subjects including philosophy, biology and psychology.
- Dr. Daniela Marghitu
- Dr. Paul Curzon