ESO at the European City of Science, Paris, November 2008

Paris - 14-16 November 2008

On the occasion of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research decided to create from 14 till 16 November, an European City of Science in one of most magnificent buildings in Paris, the Grand Palais.

The European City of Science will provide a multitude of visitors with an opportunity to learn how the European Research Area does its work. Schoolchildren of all ages can also learn about scientific and technical cultures with the help of guides taking them to meet research scientists from every country in Europe. Their scientific and technological choices will be presented through the outcomes and inventions produced by their research.

Located in the centre of Paris, the atrium of the Grand Palais provides the ideal setting for hosting such an event. The 12,000 square-metre space sprawls in the heart of a flamboyant edifice built for the 1900 World's Fair. Under a glass roof 45 metres above, the atrium played host to fairs and exhibitions throughout the 20th century - not only art fairs, but automobile shows, aviation fairs, book fairs and home fairs. Since its reopening in 2005 after undergoing renovation work, it has seen a long line of major prestigious events parade through its walls.

The scientific community has enthusiastically rallied round the realisation of the European City of Science. Over 200 organisations (80 from countries in the European Union other than France) expressed their interest in taking part in this event by answering a call for project proposals issued by the ministry. A scientific committee chaired by Professor Patrice Debré selected the 80 proposals (including 20 from other countries in the European Union) that will be presented 14 to 16 November 2008.

ESO will be present together with several French research partners, with a 130 sq.m "Astronomy Dome", which is dedicated to "From the VLT to the ELT: Europe, a Window on the Universe".

So, come and discover the current astronomical themes, from life in the Universe to black holes to dark energy, and the crucial role played by Europe in these areas, in particular with ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). Find out about why astronomers plan to build the biggest 'eye' on Earth, the 42-metre Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

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