The future of Jobs – Is Astronomy now the most important subject?
John Baruch
Open University; Department of Physical Sciences
Dr Ulrich Kolb, Open University, Department of Physical Sciences; Edward Hand; Dan Hedges; Dr Chris Tallon,University of Bradford School of Engineering and Informatics
The challenge of generating jobs in an era of robots and automation is described. The skills delivered by astronomy education are shown to be key skills relevant for a future Knowledge Economy.The Knowledge Economy is presented as an alternative to “The Race to the Bottom” in the interests of developing a flourishing economy with well paid jobs as an alternative to unemployment. The skills essential for a knowledge economy are those of technological innovation and creativity. The special role of practical science in developing the skills of technological innovation and creativity is outlined.
The shortage of science teachers and the drive to provide the practical science experience over the web is described using the examples of the Open Science lab, other Telerobotics laboratories and robotic telescopes. The special role of astronomy is outlined where uniquely the whole subject is accessible with a telescope and a set of instruments. A programme to exploit the unique position of astronomy is described, which develops the understanding of how science works and the ability to think creatively. The implication of this for the UK and other modern economies is discussed.