Issue 2

Editorials

Welcome to the second issue of Science in School

Since the publication of the first issue, we have received a lot of enthusiastic feedback from our readers. Science teachers from across Europe particularly liked our innovative teaching ideas, accessible science coverage, interdisciplinary topics and European approach. And these are features that we intend to continue to offer.

Back in the staffroom

Putting the fizz into physics!

Lucy Attwood from Oxford Danfysik, UK, explains the mysterious appeal of champagne.

Cutting-edge science

Are there Earth-like planets around other stars?

Uffe Gråe Jørgensen from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, describes the search for Earth-like planets elsewhere in our galaxy.

A new tree of life

At the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, Peer Bork’s research group has meticulously reconstructed a new tree of life – tracing the course of evolution. Russ Hodge explains.

Features

The scientist of the future

Susan Greenfield and Martin Westwell from the Institute for the Future of the Mind consider the needs of the future scientist.

Resources on the web

Free science journals

Are you looking for a good article to use in a lesson? Or do you just want to browse a science journal or two for inspiration? Here is a selection of free online science journals and some useful tools for tracking down the books, articles and journals you need.

Reviews

Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, By Nick Lane

Power, Sex, Suicide: three words that immediately aroused my interest in reading this book. The subtitle, Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, explains what the book is about – the crucial role of mitochondria in our lives.

The Science Behind Medicines

The Science Behind Medicines CD-ROM is a teaching resource produced by GlaxoSmithKline and aimed at biology and chemistry teachers of post-16 students. It has sections on drug discovery, structural formulae, bacterial infections, asthma and viral infections.

Success Strategies for Women in Science: A Portable Mentor, By Peggy A. Pritchard

A professor once told me in a job interview that he prefers to hire women for his laboratory “because they get things done”. Nonetheless, although a blunt question as to whether you plan to have children is certainly out of fashion, female scientists still experience situations that are politically incorrect.

The Physics of Superheroes, By James Kakalios

Superman, Batman, Lightning Lad, Spiderman – they all apply the principles of physics to perform their extraordinary feats… or do they? Which laws are suspended, and which are extended? Which are indeed forgotten completely? James Kakalios’s view is that many fundamental principles of physics can be better understood by examining the activities of superheroes in comic strips, some famous and some not so well-known. As the foreword comments, “Comic book heroes are fun, inclined planes aren’t”. Thus for teachers, this book is a fantastic resource of examples which, at all levels, can enliven some of the more mundane areas of the physics syllabus.

Real Mosquitoes Don’t Eat Meat: This and Other Inquiries into the Oddities of Nature, By Brad Wetzler

I was examining a list of more than 20 books available for reviewing when I discovered this odd title. I am not especially interested in mosquitoes, and I know very little about them. But a colleague’s encouragement and my own curiosity led me to choose this book from the list.

Learning from Patients: The Science of Medicine

The goal of this DVD is to show how information collected from patients often allows scientists to achieve a deeper understanding of the genetic and molecular basis of a specific disease. This level of understanding is crucial to developing treatments for disease and, consequently, to relieving patients’ suffering.

Science education projects

Promoting science and motivating students in the 21st century

Marilyn Brodie from the Centre for Science Education, UK, describes two projects to involve the scientific research community in schools and raise enthusiasm for science among students.

The exhibition ship MS Einstein: a floating source of scientific knowledge

Imagine a barge carrying not coal or other heavy cargo, but something much more precious – inspiration! Beate Langholf from Wissenschaft im Dialog, Germany, describes a science exhibition that travels the rivers of Germany with a different theme each year.

Linking university and school: addressing the challenges of science teaching in Italy

Mariolina Tenchini, Director of Cus-Mi-Bio in Milan, Italy, introduces a university initiative to motivate science teachers and provide both them and their students with hands-on experience of cutting-edge science.

Science in film

Video-clip collection of the European Space Agency

Films about science or even pseudo-science can be powerful tools in the classroom. Heinz Oberhummer from the Cinema and Science project provides a toolkit for using the video-clip collection of the European Space Agency

Science topics

Forensic entomology

Are you a biologist with a mission? Do you want to fight crime with science? Martin Hall and Amoret Brandt from The Natural History Museum in London, UK, introduce the fascinating (and smelly) field of forensic entomology.

Symmetry rules

Everyone knows what symmetry is. In this article, though, Mario Livio from the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, USA, explains how not only shapes, but also laws of nature, can be symmetrical.

Chocolate’s chemical charm

Dhara Thakerar, a second-year student of natural sciences at Cambridge University, UK, elucidates the science of chocolate.

Epigenetics

We tend to think of our genetic information as being encoded in DNA – in our genes. Brona McVittie from Epigenome NoE, UK, describes why this is only part of the story.

Scientist profiles

A search for the origins of the brain

Detlev Arendt, a molecular biologist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany, describes to Russ Hodge how his cutting-edge research is following in the footsteps of a 19th-century scientist.

Spotlight on education

GRID: a European network of good practice in science teaching

Sibylle Moebius introduces a project, GRID, to identify and promote innovative science education in Europe

Teacher profiles

A zoologist at school: my pupils and other animals

Silvia Boi, a science teacher from Italy, explains how her fascination with science led her to study ant behaviour, worm reproduction and the human genome – and how she now tries to awaken that fascination in her pupils, using somewhat unusual techniques.

Teaching activities

Scientists at play: contraptions for developing science process skills

In the second of two articles on developing the processes of enquiry, hypothesis and testing, Alfredo Tifi, Natale Natale and Antonietta Lombardi describe how to build and apply some of the low-cost equipment they have developed.

Modelling the DNA double helix using recycled materials

Dionisios Karounias, Evanthia Papanikolaou and Athanasios Psarreas, from Greece, describe their innovative model of the DNA double helix – using empty bottles and cans!

The chocolate challenge

John Schollar from the National Centre for Biotechnology Education at the University of Reading, UK, finds an excuse for eating one of his favourite foods - chocolate.

Environmental chemistry: water testing as part of collaborative project work

Wetlands are key habitats for a vast range of wildlife. Richard Harwood and Chris Starr, from Aiglon College, Switzerland, describe a school project to measure water quality in a local wetlands region.