Get Physical! – Physics Returns to Centre Stage

Do you think physics is boring and difficult? Four hundred teachers and educational experts from 22 European countries are ready to change your mind at Physics on Stage 2 – a festival to highlight the most innovative ideas in teaching physics.

Physics on Stage 2, which runs from 2-6 April, follows up the huge success of the first Physics on Stage, which was held at CERN1 in November 2000, and organized by three of Europe's leading research organizations - CERN*, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). This year, the festival is being held at ESA's Space Research and Technical Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, with support again from CERN and ESO, as well as three further European research organizations: the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).

Physics is often considered – at least by the students - to be one of the most boring and difficult subjects at school, yet it underpins much of everyday life, and has a vital role in modern technology. The challenge for teachers is to bring the subject alive. Physics on Stage 2 will bring together the best ideas for promoting physics in schools from some of Europe's most inspirational teachers. The 400 participants have been selected through national events as the most motivating individuals with the most innovative projects for teaching physics. They will come together for a week at ESA/ESTEC to exchange ideas, discuss common problems and teaching aids, and make recommendations for ways to inject more excitement and motivation into today's physics education.

The week-long festival consists of four main elements: special performances, presentations by delegates, workshops on topical themes, and a fair at which exhibitors will showcase their projects and learn about those of their European colleagues - a lively forum for information exchange, cross-fertilization and inspiration.

Various distinguished visitors will be at the festival during the week, including Gerard t'Hooft, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Physics, His Excellency Dr Louis Hermans, Minister for Research, Culture and Science in the Netherlands, and directors from Europe's leading research organizations and the European Commission.

On Friday 5 April, media representatives are invited to visit the festival, join the press conference and tour the ESA/ESTEC facilities.
The programme is as follows:

Physics on Stage 2 festival - 5 April 2002

10:30 - Welcome to Physics on Stage 2 festival by Jean-Pol Poncelet, ESA Director of Strategy and External Relations

11:00 - Tour of Physics on Stage 2 international fair

12:30 - Addresses to the participants and questions from the media

13:00 - Lunch - Visit to ESA's Space Research and Technical Centre (ESTEC)

14:30 - Welcome and introduction to ESA

15:00 - Tour of ESA Test Centre with the spacecraft Integral, Rosetta and ATV, guided by senior ESA staff

15:45 - Transfer to Erasmus building

16:00 - Tour of User Information Centre for the International Space Station, including virtual reality demonstration

16:45 - End of visit

To reach ESTEC from Amsterdam, take the A4 in the Den Haag-Rotterdam direction, then at the fork follow the A44. Take the Noordwijk-Voorhout exit, continue to Noordwijk and from there follow the ESTEC signs.

For more information on Physics on Stage 2 contact the Executive Coordinator: Helen.Wilson@esa.int tel. +31-(0)71-565-5518

Please confirm your presence at the VIP press conference before Wed. March 27 by fax to the ESTEC Communications Office on: +31-(0)71-565-5728

Footnote(s)

1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, 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. Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

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