What have Vikings and STEM got to do with each other? Well, I have a dream, and that is to get Vikings into the Big Bang fairs and STEM fairs all over the UK. This might seem rather far-fetched, but it’s not as silly as it seems. You see, a big reason the Vikings were so successful was because of their technology. Their engineering skills were impressive, and the Viking Longship was a revolutionary design that enabled them to cross the Atlantic and discover North America 500 years before Columbus.
- Viking Navigation relied upon knowledge of astronomy.
- Their weapons needed great skill in metallurgy to withstand the rigours of battle.
- Each Viking weapon needed to be used differently, mainly because of the physics of how you could wield them.
- Saxons were producing the most beautiful manuscripts. Producing the inks, pigments and parchment required knowledge of chemistry, or alchemy, as it was known in those days.
- Dyeing expensive cloth different colours was also an application of chemistry.
There’s lots more, I could go on.
The point is, STEM isn’t just a modern day phenomenon, it pervades the history of mankind. Lots of young people don’t understand how it is relevant to them. The first step in understanding the relevance of STEM subjects should be, I think, an understanding of how science and technology, maths and engineering have always been relevant.