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'Physics on Stage' - A stellar performance?

Scientists will eventually get a chance to tread the boards in 'Physics on stage' a joint initiative to raise the profile of physics and related sciences in Europe through the medium of the theatre, launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), CERN and the European Southern Ob...
Scientists will eventually get a chance to tread the boards in 'Physics on stage' a joint initiative to raise the profile of physics and related sciences in Europe through the medium of the theatre, launched by the European Space Agency (ESA), CERN and the European Southern Observatory,.

The pan-European programme forms part of the European week for science and technology, which will culminate in a science festival during November 2000 at CERN in Geneva.

'Physics on Stage', say the organisers, is designed to counteract the current decline in interest and knowledge of physics among Europe's citizens by means of a series of highly visible promotional activities.

'Fewer and fewer young people are attracted towards careers in core sciences and technologies - this could potentially lead to a crisis in European technology in the coming decades unless action is taken now. Too few people possess the basic knowledge that is necessary to understand even common physical phenomena. And not enough are able to form their own substantiated opinions about them', lament ESA, CERN and ESO.

Based on a series of high profile physics-related activities, 'Physics on stage' will be designed to inform the European public in general and European high school physics teachers and media representatives in particular, about innovative ways to convey information about physics.

'It will stress the intimate connection of this natural science with our daily lives and will be accompanied by a broad media debate on these subjects', say the organisers.

Dedicated national steering committees have been formed in 22 European countries, which will be responsible for their own national programme. They will collaborate with national media to find new and exciting educational approaches to physics. These may involve demonstrations, interactive experiments, video and CD-Rom presentations, web applications, virtual reality and theatre performances.

There will also be nationally-run competitions for the best and most convincing new ideas for presentations and educational materials which will receive development support from the programme.

CERN will host the grand finale, which will be filmed by the national TV networks and where the national competition winners, science teachers, science communicators, publishers, eminent scientists and high level representatives of the European organisations' ministries will brain storm solutions to bolster physics' popularity.

'European science and technology week' was launched in 1993 on the initiative of the European Commission. Raising public awareness of science and technology is now the subject of a clearly defined action within the Human Potential Programme of the Fifth Framework Programme.

Source: European Space Agency

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