Heidelberg, 28 March 2006. Science is moving more rapidly than ever; one groundbreaking discovery chases the next at an incredible speed. School teachers have trouble keeping up with the pace, and many pupils call science classes "boring". Today, Europe's major research organisations launch Science in School1, the first international, multidisciplinary journal for innovative science teaching, to provide a platform for communication between science teachers, practising scientists and other stakeholders in science education.
"Science is becoming increasingly international and interdisciplinary," says Eleanor Hayes, editor of the journal. "The most exciting development of the day may happen anywhere in any field: students may suddenly want to talk about a discovery on Mars, a medical breakthrough or a natural disaster. On such days it would be a shame not to put the textbooks aside and to capitalize on that curiosity."
Published by EIROforum, a partnership between Europe's seven largest intergovernmental research organisations2, Science in School will bridge the gap between the worlds of research and schools. One extremely powerful tool to achieve this is the journal's web-based discussion forum that will establish a direct dialogue between science teachers and researchers across national and subject boundaries.
Science in School will appear quarterly online and in print and will feature news about the latest scientific discoveries, teaching materials, interviews with inspiring teachers and scientists, reviews of books, films and websites, suggestions for class trips, training opportunities and many other useful resources for science teachers. Contributors to the first issue include the world-renowned neurologist and author Oliver Sachs, and scientists and teachers from nine countries.
"We urgently need to engage young people in science. This is why the research community and the European Commission are committed to outreach and education activities," says Bill Stirling, Director General of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), representing EIROforum at the launch event. "Scientists across Europe, including those in EIROforum labs, are continually making discoveries that they would be willing and able to explain to young people, but there's no central mechanism to help do so - we think that this new journal can help fulfil that function."
The launch of Science in School will take place during an international European-wide science contest for students called the European Schools Science Symposium, hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. Speakers at the launch include representatives of the European Commission and EIROforum.
"Motivating more young people to take an interest in understanding and learning science at school is important not only because science careers are exciting and rewarding, but also because young people need to know about how science and technology is changing our world - their world!," says Stephen Parker, Head of Education and Science of the European Commission. "Science in School is just one of the initiatives being supported by the Commission to take this forward." EIROforum sustains many other education activities including the Science on Stage festival, a sort of European teaching Olympics where teachers present their most inventive methods. The best projects from last year's Science on Stage festival will be featured in Science in School.
For more information on each of the EIROforum organizations, please contact the press officers:
2EIROforum 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 Organization 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. For more information about EIROforum, visit http://www.eiroforum.org.