eso0714 — Organisation Release
Waking up to science!
The Science on Stage festival as an alarm clock for science teaching
15 March 2007
How is Europe to tackle its shortage of scientists? The EIROforum Science on Stage festival aims to give European teachers some of the answers they need to take up this urgent challenge. This unique event, showcasing the very best of today's science education, will feature science demonstrations, a science teaching fair with some 66 stands, and a Round Table discussion with the participation of the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik.
Science on Stage will have the city of Grenoble (France) buzzing from 2 to 6 April 2007. A rugby team and a hockey team will take on the power of the vacuum, a cook will demonstrate how science can inspire new culinary ideas, visitors will discover the real colour of the sun, an inflatable model of Borromini's gallery will help to explain the science of optical illusions, and Merlin himself will reveal all about how to make a cake float.
These are just some of the exciting things that will be happening at the EIROforum Science on Stage festival. By showing how fascinating and entertaining science can be, the event aims to attract young people to science and ultimately help to reduce the shortage of scientists in Europe. With support from the European Commission, this international festival will bring together some 500 science educators from 27 European countries.
The highlight of the festival will be a Round Table discussion on 'Science Education in the Age of the Knowledge Society - Strengthening Science Education in Europe', which will take place on 5 April 2007 with the participation of the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik. The panellists - all high-ranking decision-makers - will include the Danish Minister for Education, Bertel Haarder, the MEP Vittorio Prodi, and the Chair of the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Julia Higgins.
"Curiosity is in our genes", says Potočnik. "Unfortunately it tends to die away when we grow up. This is because the ways we raise and educate our children and the ways we work and live do not always support innovative thinking and doing. We cannot change this overnight. But I think it is worth making the effort to awaken this dormant passion and initiatives like Science on Stage can be a very effective alarm clock", he adds.
The festival will close with the presentation of the European Science Teaching Awards. The teaching materials and methods voted to be the best in Europe will then be presented in the 'Science in School' magazine, distributed free of charge to 30,000 teachers in Europe.
The festival is the climax of a two-year programme of events organised in virtually every European country and from which delegates have been selected for their outstanding projects for promoting science.
The winners of ESO's Catch a Star! 2007 contest will also be announced during the Science on Stage festival.
The event follows on from the hugely successful 'Physics on Stage' and 'Science on Stage' festivals organised by EIROforum in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Journalists are cordially invited to take part in this unique European event. Practical information, including the detailed festival programme, is available on the Science on Stage website at http://www.ill.fr/scienceonstage2007.
 This is a coordinated EIROforum Press Release. The EIROforum members are: European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN; European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA; European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL; European Space Agency, ESA; European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, ESO; European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, ESRF; Institut Laue-Langevin, ILL.
The EIROforum Science on Stage festival is supported in part by the European Commission's Science and Society Programme within the framework of the NUCLEUS project and the ESTI programme.
Montserrat Capellas Espuny
ESRF press officer
Tel: + 33 476 882663
ILL press officer
Tel: + 33 476 207107