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Setting the stage for science in schools

Geneva, 10 November 2005 - How can you weigh the Earth with a straw, a paperclip and a piece of thread? Why don’t we really know what we see? How can a juggling act explain mathematics?

These are but a few of the on-stage activities that will be shown at the EIROforum1 Science on Stage Festival, to be held from 21 to 25 November at CERN2 in Geneva (Switzerland). With support from the European Commission, this international festival brings together around 500 science educators from 29 European countries to show how fascinating and entertaining science can be.

"Science is fun! This is what this week-long event will show by presenting innovative methods of teaching science and demonstrations", says Helen Wilson from the European Space Agency and co-ordinator of the event.

"At the festival, teachers have the chance to view things from a new perspective, to be entertained and enchanted by science", says Rolf Landua, Head of Education at CERN and Chairman of the event. "As well as taking to the stage, they set up stalls in fair-like surroundings to share their most successful teaching tricks."

Workshops on themes as varied as "flying on stage", "the theatre of science", or "stem cell research" and "gamma-ray bursts", will give the attendees – teachers and other science educators – the chance to discuss and come up with solutions to the problem of growing disinterest for science in Europe.

"A key element of the Science on Stage concept is to give teachers an up-to-date 'insider's view' of what is happening in big science, to tell them about new, highly diverse and interesting career opportunities for their pupils, and to create a European atmosphere where bright young people can meet and interact", says Colin Carlile, Director General of the Institut Laue-Langevin and current chairman of the EIROforum.

At the end of the festival, the European Science Teaching Awards will be presented. The names of the winners will be made public on the Science on Stage web site at 12:00 CET on Friday 25 November. In addition, highlights of the Festival will feature in a new "Science in School" journal, to be launched by EIROforum in 2006. The new journal is dedicated to best teaching materials and practices in Europe.

The festival is the final event of a two-year-long programme of events that has taken place in virtually every European country and from which delegates have been selected for their outstanding projects promoting science.

The event continues the vastly successful "Physics on Stage" festivals organised by EIROforum organisations in 2000, 2002 and 2003.

Journalists are cordially invited to take part in this unique European event. The detailed programme and practical details are available on the Science on Stage web site.

For more information on the Science on Stage Festival, contact:

Helen Wilson
ESTEC/European Space Agency
Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 71 565 5518
Email: Helen.Wilson@esa.int

Rolf Landua
Geneva, Switzerland
Phone:+ 41 22 767 2051
Email: rolf.landua@cern.ch

For journalist accreditation, please contact:

Renilde Vanden Broeck
Geneva, Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 767 2141
Email: Renilde.Vanden.Broeck@cern.ch

For more information on each of the organisations, please contact each of the press offices:

Renilde Vanden Broeck
Tel: +41 22 767 2141

Henri Boffin
Tel: +49 89 3200 62 22

Jennifer Hay
Tel: +44 1235 466 232

Montserrat Capellas
Tel: +33 476 88 26 63

Sarah Sherwood
Tel: +49 6221 387 125

Françoise Vauquois
Tel: +33 476 20 71 07

Media Relations
Tel: +33 1 53 69 71 55



1. EIROforum is a collaboration between seven European intergovernmental scientific research organizations. As world leaders within their respective fields, the EIROforum member organizations constitute the vanguard of European science, enabling European scientists to engage in truly cutting-edge research and be competitive on a global scale. These organizations have a vital role to play in the future of European research. EIROforum is composed of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN; the European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL, the European Space Agency, ESA, the European Southern Observatory, ESO, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, ESRF, and the Institut Laue–Langevin, ILL. The EIROforum Science on Stage Festival is supported in part by the European Commission’s Science and Society Programme in the framework of the NUCLEUS project.
2. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.