Hanne’s father, a geologist, helped spark her love for science when he gave her a telescope as a child. An athlete, Hanne was initially drawn to studying nutrition but then moved into biochemistry. After earning a PhD, Hanne became a cancer researcher. At 22 she was one of the first students to focus on gene technology. Leaving the lab behind, Hanne began work as a science writer and journalist, creating her own small company as a free-lancer. During her studies, she supported herself by teaching science to teenagers. She became obsessed by the question, “Why doesn’t everyone love science as much as I do?” The answer became clearer once she began to see the dismal and dry curricula on offer. Hanne was struck by the gap between what was in the lab and what was communicated in coursework or the media.
Schools in Norway teach almost entirely theoretical science. In addition, Norway does not have a culture of extracurriculars. Teachers in Norway are not required to specialize in the subjects that they teach. (70% of tenth grade teachers have not studied past tenth grade science themselves). And even passionate science teachers struggle with dated equipment, texts and lack institutional commitment. Schools have poor facilities for science and are not built to accommodate an experimental-based style of science education.
Hanne is creating a new generation of scientists, a culture of critical thinking and breading intellectual curiosity by integrating experimental science into classrooms through her organization Forskerfabrikken. By using specialized teachers, extracurricular classes, encouraging experimental science in curriculum and development of textbooks, Hanne is transforming science education into something compelling and accessibly to all.