A celebration of science
Nov 3, 2000
A huge festival of science kicks off next week in cities across Europe. European Science and Technology Week (6 - 11 November 2000) will feature a wide range of public events to highlight the importance of basic research to the economy and our day-to-day lives. The event, organised by the European Commission, comes as the number of science graduates is falling and thousands of jobs are left unfilled in countries all over the continent. It aims not only to persuade young people that science is an exciting and rewarding career choice, but to provide an insight into science for everybody.
Physics is well catered for within the week's activities. A mock spaceship is part of an exhibition exploring the sun's activity and how it affects us, and a film - Inspired by Nature - emphasises the link between naturally occurring phenomena and everyday products and appliances. An exhibition in Paris aims to demystify radioactivity by stressing that it is a natural process which has brought many benefits - and some problems - to society. The fundamental role of maths in all aspects of science and life is celebrated in seven cities. The project, in conjunction with the European Mathematical Society, falls within UNESCO's World Mathematical Year.
The Physics on Stage fair puts physics education under the spotlight - the week-long event involves over 400 physics educators from 22 European countries. Teachers will demonstrate new ways of communicating physics designed to stimulate greater interest among schoolchildren and the public. CERN is hosting the festival, which features workshops on a wide variety of topics in physics education. The crisis in teacher recruitment, the issue of gender in physics and the public understanding of physics are tackled, among many other subjects including teaching resources and primary education.
The Descartes prize for the best European collaborative research will also be awarded during the festival. It is the competition's first year and over a hundred teams from all fields of science are competing for the prize. A jury of 11 eminent scientists will choose the winner and make the award in Brussels on 8 November.