If you have heard the term STEM, you probably know that it is an acronym used to designate the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This term is used to refer to specific treatments on subjects related to science, education, the workforce, national security or immigration in the United States and Europe. But, what are the STEM fields? What are the fields of action of these unique disciplines and how are they related?
Applications of STEM fields
The definitions of the scope of STEM and what is excluded may vary in different places. As a wide definition, STEM fields include chemistry, computer science, information technology, engineering, earth sciences, mathematical sciences, life sciences, physics, astronomy, psychology, and social sciences.
Many organizations consider these disciplines as fundamental for technologically advanced societies. As an example, we will talk about only three specific STEM fields.
The study of physics raises important questions about all phenomena that involve our life. It attempts to give an answer to them by observation, experimentation, and analysis. But studying physics as a STEM field opens the door to enthralling areas of research and a wide range of applications that include medical technology, environmental monitoring, weather forecasting and the development of devices and tools for those areas.
Nowadays, Chemistry is an essentially empirical science that studies an object and its composition by means of the scientific method, and due to its permanent advances, it achieves special transcendence in many fields of knowledge.
But as a STEM field, chemistry offers a world of possibilities to solve problems, based on new research strengths, of new materials (organic, inorganic, catalysts, nanoparticles, energy, pharmaceuticals, and health care products). STEM-focused chemistry prepares students to face the challenges in academia and industry in a highly competitive and interdisciplinary environment.
Even though it is a monster for many and incomprehensible for others, Mathematics is undoubtedly the basis of our life. In many cases, numbers are those that indicate which decision to make or even point out the solution to a problem.
The study of mathematics as a STEM field opens the possibility of training vital skills and knowledge in fields like the security of the computer, biotechnology, cryptography, and other computer-related topics. But also, Mathematical skills are in hand for finance, business, space exploration, healthcare, movie animation and much more.
Importance of STEM fields
STEM education contributes to greater competitiveness and it will help to achieve economic prosperity in the future. It is a clear indicator of a country’s ability to maintain sustained growth.
STEM disciplines have implications for workforce development, national security issues, and immigration policy. There is no doubt that education in the STEM fields is an issue that all governments should have on the agenda.
A report by the U.S. Department of Commerce proves the importance of this issue, which points out that STEM workers play an important role in the stability and growth of the U.S. economy. In fact, education in STEM fields tends to generate better income.
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