Science Matters to Tibetan Monks

Yes, it does matter to Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns. This May, with about 15 faculty and students from Emory and Georgia Tech, I will travel to Dharamsala, India to run the second Emory Summer Science Institute for Tibetan monastics and nuns.  Yes, that is right.  Monks want to learn science with a passion.  Sessions include physics, biology and neurosciences, some math and some chemistry.  And philosophy of western science.  We learned so much from the monastics while were there. About ourselves, about teaching and learning in science.  About other ways of problem solving and other knowledge systems.

Last year a smaller group offered the first summer institute and it was a mind blowing experience.  If you are a science educator, when was the last time you had 40 keen minds just concentrating on your every word, with passionate interest and deadly focus?  And the questions were some of the most clever, thought provoking, original questions I have ever heard.  And yes, we did not always have an answer.  I’ll post some of them in future posts.

About Preetha Ram

I am an educator (Dean for PreHealth and Science Education at Emory), social entrepreneur (Cofounder of OpenStudy, a global study group to connect learners) and visionary (let's build a classroom for the world to study together). A chemist by training (Yale), I like to solve problems by building bridges at the edges and interstices of disciplinary boundaries.

Posted on January 20, 2009, in Emory Tibet Science Initiative and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Carlisle Thacker

    Can you use more teachers? If so, I would be interested in participating. And a friend. another retired physicist, might also like to help.

    • Most certainly. We just returned from our second summer science institute in Dharamsala with 90 monastics and nuns. Working on year 3.

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