March 19, 2004
SLAC Scientist’s Biography Will Appear
in Middle School Textbook
By Kate Metopolis
Cherrill Spencer (NLC) has devoted significant time over the past 28
years encouraging young people to go into science. When publisher
Macmillan McGraw-Hill approached her about being one of the scientists
profiled in a new science textbook, it was natural for her to agree.
Educators hope to inspire and inform students early enough in their
lives to prevent having them unknowingly make choices that would rule
out science-based careers, such as not taking as many math courses as
they can before college.
|Cherrill Spencer (NLC)
(Photo by Diana Rogers)
Spencer’s youthful ambition to become an
astronaut is lamentably missing from the biographical sketch, but, then,
the editors only had 200 words in which to explain to sixth-graders how
she came to design accelerator magnets and how they’re used in
addressing the question “What is everything made of?”
Spencer believes that showing kids who the scientists are may be as
important as telling them what science is. The scientists’ profiles
reveal that “we’re regular people—we’re not like Einstein. That will
help counteract the myth that boys as well as girls sometimes believe,
that you have to be a genius to be a scientist. Most of us aren’t,” she
laughed. She’d like students to appreciate that a scientist doesn’t need
to win a Nobel prize to find the work rewarding.
Another reason for agreeing to appear was that “it helps bring our work
into the public’s mind,” Spencer said. “We’re doing worthwhile research.
I see it as an advert for high energy physics and for SLAC.”
The textbook will be available in 2005.
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is
managed by Stanford University for the
US Department of Energy
Wednesday March 17, 2004 by