After noticing Tony Blair's recommendation of popular science books as an aid to science education the other week, I find the latest (2006) edition of the excellent annual Best American Science and Nature Writing
takes a similar tack.
Guest editor Brian Greene (regular editor Tim Folger finds the pieces, the guest then chooses which ones go in the book) says he's been promoting this idea in the US for some time.
People ask him, he says, how to turn school students on to science. The problem, he reckons, is more how to offer a curriculum which does not turn them off. "I've been advocating that schools introduce a new course, one in which students spend the entire term reading and discussing a wide selection of compelling popular science books and articles".
He doesn't say what to choose, beyond materials "that cut a wide swath through the sciences, from their established underpinnings up to cutting edge research".
A whole term would never fit in with the National Curriculum, but I've wondered for a while why schools in Britain don't make more use of popular science books, so much more appealing than the average GCSE or A-level text.
But which ones?