You don’t learn to love science by memorizing stuff, and I fear that whatever our system is currently trying to do still depends too much on that. That it’s regurgitating facts and answering the multiple-choice questions, and it’s not about really increasing one’s curiosity and the way to try to answer questions that don’t have answers yet. I remember my first day in that chemistry class. It was a transformational moment, and I thought, “Well, what are they gonna make us do? Probably memorize the periodic table, right?” No. Instead, each of us was given a black sealed box, and we were told, “There’s something inside this box, and you’re not allowed to open it, but you’re allowed to do a few experiments with things that we have here in our rather simple high school laboratory, but also to write down experiments that maybe we can’t do but you would like to do if you had access to the equipment.” And so we each spent an hour both doing a few experiments and thinking about what we would want to do. Is that not a perfect metaphor for what science is all about? It’s a black box, but if you’re really creative you can figure out what’s inside. I didn’t happen to get it right. I had a candle inside my box. I didn’t figure that out, but it was, like, this moment of revelation. “Wow. Why wouldn’t anybody want to spend time doing this in the real situation where you have a real question that needs a real answer?” Not this hypothetical black box, but I could see what the point was, and I was sold. And if we could do more of that in our educational efforts, we’d have a lot more scientists.