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Science, Maths & Technology
  • Video
  • 5 mins
  • Level 1: Introductory

The Z Files: Jon Chase

Updated Wednesday 29th September 2010

Poet and writer Benjamin Zephaniah interviews Jon Chase about his passion for communicating science to young people

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Benjamin Zephaniah

In the world of science this is the establishment, the Royal Institution is the home of the UK’s science community, but the person I’m meeting is anything but traditional.  28 year-old Jon Chase is on a mission to spread the scientific word in his own unique style.

Jon Chase

I think it’s important for people to know about science.  Science has made us understand so much about ourselves that we never knew before.

Benjamin Zephaniah

And where do you go to communicate this science?

Jon Chase

I actually go to schools, libraries, museums and sometimes to kids. 

Benjamin Zephaniah

And of course you don’t just communicate in normal words you rap.

Jon Chase

Yeah I rap about it.

“Some of the biggest questions that’s ever been asked, do you know where life’s going, can you tell where it starts?  We’ve been on earth many years and we’re still producing answers, as time passes collective knowledge advances.”

Benjamin Zephaniah

Is there an old school that says, you know, this rap rubbish is rubbish? 

Jon Chase

Yeah.

Benjamin Zephaniah

We want a lecture young man.

Jon Chase

To be honest the scientist believes in experimentation and observation, yeah, and if he judges all rap based on what he’s seen on the TV he would be a bit ignorant.

“The origin of life is hotly debated, some say evolved, some say created, choice is up to you it just depends on how you weight it.”

Benjamin Zephaniah

Way back when you were a kid what got you interested in science?

Jon Chase

I was always big on little programmes about space and science.  So every time I read the bible and I was like mum how come in this programme it’s saying this, but when I go to church they’re telling me this and how can people be around this long when, these questions didn’t have answers.  So those questions I think they even inspired a lot of first scientists, you know, they were looking for God, and then in their search for God they ended up coming with techniques to what is true and what isn’t true.  Some of the most inquisitive minds has come from there so.

Benjamin Zephaniah

I think most people, but certainly most young people think that science is done by old white men in old white coats talking about old white things, how do you fit into this world or do you fit in?

Jon Chase

I fit in with the big hammer to kind of crack the perceptions.

“So we find lifelong intelligence and genetic inheritance, but alien communication how would we know?”

Benjamin Zephaniah

Let’s just take a young Benjamin Zephaniah, left school at 13, got in trouble with the police, was a bit of a jack the lad, but then found a love for science.  Could somebody like me get back on the educational path to learn about science even if I’ve messed up a little bit?

Jon Chase

Yeah of course, everyone can.  You know, it’s just feeling what you feel comfortable doing and what you enjoy too.

Benjamin Zephaniah

And where do I start?

Jon Chase

Well you start with your interests, you start with what you’re into, because no matter what, I realise people will do what they’re into regardless of what anyone else says.  So if I want to look at the stars I’ve got to go out there and look at them.  And if I need a telescope get one.  If I can’t afford one find a society where they do it.  And don’t be afraid for people to tell you you shouldn’t do it, you can’t, you’ve got to stay strong to your dreams, you know, and hopefully there’ll be people who are kind enough to help you.  And you normally find them at least once in your life, but you have to keep your eyes open for them.

Benjamin Zephaniah

I mean your personal journey, have you had any major struggles, obstacles to overcome?

Jon Chase

Society can hold you back yes, but I never let anything be an excuse for me.  It’s only me that has to make the difference.  So if you really want to do it don’t believe you can’t do it and if you can do it you’ve just got to find a way to do it.

“Thank you very much.”

3’49”

 

 

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