Issue 1


Introducing Science in School

Welcome to the first issue of Science in School, a journal to promote inspiring science teaching in Europe. We hope you will be fascinated, informed and indeed inspired by the articles we have chosen.

Back in the staffroom

A cocktail of nucleic acids: celebrating the double helix

Dean Madden and John Schollar from the National Centre for Biotechnology Education at the University of Reading, UK, suggest a recipe for a cocktail containing deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA.) This drink has novel features of considerable biological interest.

Cutting-edge science

Defying the laws of physics?

Scientists working at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, have discovered a crystal that appears to defy the laws of physics. Giovanna Cicognani from ILL reports.

A bright future for light microscopy

Want to catch an enzyme in the act? Or watch an embryonic brain hard-wire itself?  Russ Hodge from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, explains how recent developments in microscopy show cells and organisms at work.

Shipwreck: science to the rescue!

The Mary Rose is one of several famous and historical ships salvaged from the sea in recent decades. Thanks to the anaerobic conditions on the seabed, the remains are well preserved. Montserrat Capellas and Dominique Cornuéjols from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), in Grenoble, France, explain how scientists are working to preserve the ship from decay in the air.

Event reports

Science teachers take centre stage

Would you know how to turn a bucket into a seismograph, how to make a scale model of a DNA double helix from cans and bottles, or how to simulate a human eye with the help of a shampoo bottle? Barbara Warmbein from the European Space Agency in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, finds out.

Space balloons, mousetraps and earthquakes: it's Science on Stage!

Science on Stage and the European Science Teaching Awards 2005: choosing the best of the best, special mentions and how the jury voted. Myc Riggulsford, UK science broadcaster and journalist, and Barbara Warmbein, from the European Space Agency in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, describe how the difficult decisions were made.


Chemical recreations

In Chapter 7 of his book, Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood, Oliver Sacks recalls his discovery of the delights of chemistry.

Resources on the web

Free image databases

The worldwide web is a wonderful source of information, but sometimes the sheer amount of content can be overwhelming. Where do you start looking? In each issue of Science in School, we will suggest useful websites for particular purposes.


Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life, By Eva Jablonka and Marion J. Lamb

In The Origin of Species, published in 1859, Charles Darwin described evolution as a process subject to diverse influences. Natural selection, of course, leads to adaptation in a manner similar to the changes elicited by breeders of pets or livestock.

The Ancestor s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life, By Richard Dawkins

There is a natural way to tell a tale: begin at the beginning and end at the end. Standard biographies, for example, start with the forebears, in many cases the grandparents, and end with the protagonist's death.

DNA interactive

This award-winning yet inexpensive educational DVD contains numerous short interviews with scientists, many of them Nobel laureates, who have played a major role or continue to work principally in human molecular biology.

The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison, By John Emsley

When is a chemistry textbook not a chemistry textbook? The answer to this riddle is The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison. Most people would think that a book about the toxicity of the elements arsenic, antimony, mercury, lead and thallium would be fairly heavy going, but this book reads more like a novel than a chemistry text.

Nano: the Next Dimension and Nanotechnology

Nano: the Next Dimension is a short television documentary featuring several leading physical scientists discussing nanotechnology and its applications - amongst these are Nobel laureates Jean-Marie Lehn and Sir Harry Kroto.

Science education projects

Spiders in Space : a collaboration between education and research

An ambitious Australian school project sent spiders into space to experience microgravity. 'Spiders in Space' will form the basis of a future project involving many more schools worldwide. Lachlan Thompson and Naomi Mathers, from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, explain how it all started.

Launching a dream: the first European student satellite in orbit

One hour and 34 minutes after the bright tail of the Kosmos 3M rocket disappeared from view, more than one hundred students are checking their watches nervously. The first signal from their satellite should arrive any minute. Barbara Warmbein, from the European Space Agency in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, continues.

Science in film

Deep Impact

Films about science or even pseudo-science can be powerful tools in the classroom. Heinz Oberhummer and Markus Behacker from the Cinema and Science project provide a toolkit for using the film Deep Impact.

Science topics

Fusion - ace in the energy pack?

The energy demands of our society continue to increase, while the stocks of fossil fuels - still our major energy source - are declining. Chris Warrick from the European Fusion Development Agreement explains why research into fusion offers the hope of a safe and environmentally responsible energy source.

Running one of the world's largest telescopes

Ever wondered what - and who - lies behind the beautiful and fascinating astronomical photographs and observations made with modern telescopes? Douglas Pierce-Price from ESO, the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, describes a day in the life of the Very Large Telescope.

Diabetes mellitus

The incidence of diabetes is on the rise, in both the developed and developing worlds. Klaus Dugi, Professor of Medicine at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, discusses the causes, symptoms and treatment of diabetes.

Scientist profiles

The sky's the limit

What inspires someone to be a spacecraft designer? And how can you become one? Russ Hodge from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, interviews Adam Baker and reveals all.

Fighting malaria on a new front

Stéphanie Blandin explains her work on malaria to Russ Hodge from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany – and describes how she became a molecular biologist.

Spotlight on education

How do students perceive science and technology?

Svein Sjøberg and Camilla Schreiner from the University of Oslo, Norway, explain how they are investigating young people's attitudes towards science and technology.

Teacher profiles

Those who can, teach

Adrian Dow originally wanted to be a bank manager but is now a mathematics teacher. He explains to Marianne Freiberger how his enthusiasm for teaching developed - and what his plans are for the future.

Teaching activities

Teaching science and humanities: an interdisciplinary approach

There is an increasing demand for an interdisciplinary approach to teaching, but providing inspiring and achievable lessons is no easy task. Chemistry teacher Gianluca Farusi explains how he used two Italian Renaissance paintings to delve into the chemistry of pigment extraction and the physics of forensics.

Discovering DNA

Dean Madden from the National Centre for Biotechnology Education at the University of Reading, UK, describes how DNA was discovered - and how it can be simply extracted in the classroom.

Scientists at play: teaching science process skills

Sometimes in the wealth of detail of modern science, we lose sight of the unifying factor: the scientific method. Alfredo Tifi, Natale Natale and Antonietta Lombardi explain how they encourage the skills of enquiry, hypothesis and testing.

Tracing earthquakes: seismology in the classroom

Chinese dragons that predict earthquakes? Waves of glowing jelly babies? Earthquake-proof spaghetti? Physics teachers Tobias Kirschbaum and Ulrich Janzen explain how they teach geophysics.