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Instead of “STEM” perhaps read “STEAM” says Peter Barron, Google’s Head of External Relations


Cambridge Network Event, 21st February 2012
Peter Barron, Google’s Head of External Relations
Hermann Hauser Cambridge Leadership Series 2011-12
Girton College, Cambridge


Instead of “STEM” perhaps read “STEAM” says Peter Barron, Google’s Head of External Relations.


The Directors of Global Regulatory Services (GRS) attended a Cambridge Network Event held on 21st February 2012 at Girton College in Cambridge where Peter Barron was the keynote speaker

He spoke about Google’s position with regards to education stating that they want to “make information accessible and useful” to:

  • “Inspire and excite kids”
  • “Support teachers”
  • “Speak out about computer science education”


They are keen to find and nurture the next generation who have an interest in science and engineering and who also have creativity.  So rather than STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), perhaps STEAM should be encouraged (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths). 


To this end, Google have invested significant amounts of time and money into projects and competitions such as Greenfoot and CS4FN.  He explained how, in the past, schools taught how to use computers but not “under the bonnet” stuff to understand how a computer actually works.  He gave the example of Shree Bose who entered and won the main award at the 2011 Google Science Fair competition.  Only 17 and she has discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs.  Truly inspirational … so what were you doing at 17?!


Another inspirational story was presented courtesy of Warren East, CEO of ARM, who was unexpectedly invited by Claire Ruskin, CEO of the Cambridge Network, to join Peter on the stand to showcase a Ј15 ‘disposable computer’ – Raspberry Pi.  This tiny ‘disposable computer’ is aimed at getting children and schools involved in the ‘under the bonnet” side of computers.  The product was launched today (29 February 2012) and has been so successful that the ordering site was overloaded and crashed!


The key take home message from this event was the need to bring science alive in schools so as to attract, excite and interest children not only in their formative years but for the long term as the scientists of our future.  Global Regulatory Services (GRS) applauds and congratulates organisations such as Google in their efforts to bring science into schools.  With such motivational stories about Shree Bose and Raspberry Pi, and the support of businesses and government, science has every chance of being an integral part of school life.  But science must be balanced with creativity so that true innovation is encouraged and ideas become reality.


Comment by Greer Deal, Director of Global Regulatory Services (GRS)