eso0035-en-us — Organisation Release
Physics in the Spotlight
CERN, ESA and ESO Put Physics On Stage
18 October 2000
Can you imagine how much physics is in a simple match of ping-pong, in throwing a boomerang, or in a musical concert? Physics is all around us and governs our lives. The World-Wide Web and mobile communication are only two examples of technologies that have rapidly found their way from science into the everyday life. But who is going to maintain these technologies and develop new ones in the future? Probably not young Europeans, as recent surveys show a frightening decline of interest in physics and technology among Europe's citizens, especially schoolchildren. Fewer and fewer young people enrol in physics courses at university. The project "Physics on Stage" tackles this problem head on.
The European Science and Technology Week 2000
"Physics on Stage" is a joint project organised by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Europe's leading physics research organisations. This is the first time that these three organisations have worked together in such close collaboration to catalyse a change in attitude towards science and technology education.
Physics on Stage is funded in part by the European Commission and happens as an event in the European Science and Technology Week 2000, an initiative of the EC to raise public awareness of science and technology. Other partners are the European Physical Society (EPS) and the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE).
European Commissioner Busquin to Visit Physics On Stage
On Thursday, November 9, Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for Research, European Commission, Prof. Luciano Maiani, Director-General of CERN, Antonio Rodota, Director-General of ESA, Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, Director-General of ESO, and Dr. Achilleas Mitsos, Director-General of the Research DG in the European Commission, will participate in the activities of the Physics on Stage Festival.
On this occasion, Commissioner Busquin will address conference delegates and the Media on the importance of Science and of innovative science and technology education.
Each of the more than 400 delegates of the festival has been selected during the course of the year by committees in each of the 22 countries for outstanding projects promoting science. For example, a group of Irish physics teachers and their students will give a concert on instruments made exclusively of plumbing material, explaining the physics of sound at the same time. A professional theatre company from Switzerland stages a play on antimatter. Or two young Germans invite spectators to their interactive physics show where they juggle, eat fire and perform stunning physics experiments on stage.
The colourful centrepiece of this week is the Physics Fair. Every country has its own stands where delegates show their projects, programmes or experiments and gain inspiration from the exhibits from other countries.
Physics on Stage is a unique event. Nothing like it has ever happened in terms of international exchange, international collaboration and state of the art science and technology education methods. The Nobel prizewinners of 2030 are at school today. What ideas can Europe's teachers put forward to boost their interest in science?
An invitation to the media
We invite journalists to take part in this both politically and visually interesting event. We expect many useful results from this exchange of experience, there will a large choice of potential interview partners and of course uncountable images and impressions. Please fill in the form below and fax it back to CERN under +41 22 7850247.
Find out more about the Physics on Stage Festival at CERN.
You can also visit the "Physics on Stage" homepage.
There is also a Physics On Stage webpage at ESO
 The 22 countries are the member countries of at least one of the participating organisations or the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.