So what do people think of Conservative plans to require new MPs to attend an induction course to teach them about science after the next election? Leaving aside the dubious precedents for this (i.e. the last scientist to lead the Tory Party, who may well have also been the first for all I know), is it actually possibly to learn anything useful about science in what would presumably be only a few hours?
I tend to rely the boffins on the Labour benches when I want something scientific explaining to me; take a bow, Dr Doug Naysmith and Dr Ian Gibson, who were both research scientists and certainly know their stuff. Howard Stoate MP is a 'proper', i.e. medical, doctor so he's useful too. Margaret Beckett used to be a metallurgist; not quite so useful.
By coincidence, we've just had an email through from Ian Gibson, asking MPs if they're "interested in attending an event on mathematics, consisting of seminars focusing on the relationship between policy making and mathematics". The topics covered are:
· The Mathematics of Transport - how mathematics is used to predict and organise traffic flows. How to optimise routes, traffic engineering etc.
· Computers that have not yet been built - Some computation problems that seem to be unapproachable by present day computers, and the possibility of a different computer logic that could attack them.
· Statistics - How to correctly interpret and use statistical data.
· Mathematics of Sport - How mathematics is used to design sport equipment, make models of athletes behaviour, and help them develop optimal motions.
· Tsunamis and Freak Waves - How to predict these natural disasters and develop efficient warning systems.
Again, I have no idea whether this would be useful or not. Do politicians need to know how to predict tsunamis? (Lembit of course is the man for predicting asteroid-earth collisions). The transport one might be quite useful in sorting out Temple Way roundabout, where the traffic lights completely defy logic