In an effort to raise awareness about the necessity and underlying value of education within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, the U.S. government has issued a series of commemorative Forever first class stamps.
The stamps are intended to “pay tribute to the study of science, technology, engineering, and math,” according to The74.
The U.S. Postal Service officially revealed the stamps in Washington D.C. during a ceremony at the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
“In an increasingly competitive world, proficiency in the STEM fields is more critical than ever,” said the Postal Service during the release statement. “Concerned about government studies that project a lack of qualified citizens to fill STEM jobs in the years ahead, a coalition of federal agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and educators has called for improving and expanding education in these fields.”
The four stamps’ designs feature a collage with varying graphics with a young person’s profile in the background, clearly as an attempt to attract younger people to the fields from public schools as well as private schools, which account for about 25% of the nation’s schools and enroll 10% of all PK-12 students.
Overall, the Postal Service says that the stamps’ art is intended to “represent the complexity and interconnectedness of the STEM disciplines.” The science stamp features a model of a molecule as well as the periodic table of elements.
The technology stamp includes binary code and circuitry, which is quite fitting considering that the enterprise network equipment market is projected to hit $30.6 billion by 2020 due to the rising bandwidth requirements and shift toward wireless technologies.
The stamp dedicated to engineering is scrawled with the Apollo spacecraft’s command and service modules, and mathematics is represented by a myriad of equations, symbols, numbers, and letters.
The name behind the designs is artist David Plunkert, and his most notable works include the illustrations in the 200th anniversary edition of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley as well as various covers of The New Yorker.
“I would say this is as close as I get to having my work seen by everyone in the United States,” Plunkert told WBAL-TV 11.
Today, more than one-third of new paper is made with recycled fiber, and Plunkert collaborated with Postal Service art director Antonio Ancala in hopes of creating a series of stamps that appeal to a wide range of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, as well as people of all ages interested in learning about these fields.
The stamps elicited various reactions among technology enthusiasts, who were quick to voice their pride and passion on Twitter. Most notable of reactions was writer and editor Michael J. Hotovy, who posted a profound and seemingly accurate statement on the social media site:
“Smart is the new cool!”