Sounds of Science
The Vernon G. James agricultural research center in northeastern North Carolina can be a noisy place. The center’s labs and 1,500 plus acres of land are home to a constant battery of tests and experiments conducted by researchers who study corn, soybean, wheat and other crops grown in and around the inland waterways of the state. These experiments tend to emit mysterious sounds at all times of the day and night. “There’s been a boom here and a pop there,” said veteran educator Hallet S. Davis, Jr., “but nothing major. I haven’t gotten scared and gone home yet.”Davis is the principal of the new Northeastern Regional School for Biotechnology and Agriscience, or NERSBA, which is currently located in a few borrowed rooms at the Vernon James center. He was tapped to run the new school last spring. Ever since he’s spent long days and nights recruiting students, hiring teachers and planning for a school that is different in many ways from the one-size-fits-all high schools that have dominated the U.S. education system for over a century. In the process he’s grown accustomed to the sounds of science. This story looks at the innovative ways in which NERSBA will instill its young charges with an appreciation for science — and all of its sounds.