Issue 23


Welcome to the twenty-third issue of Science in School

What makes diamonds strong or a tiger stripy? Why is music uplifting or the Alhambra palace beautiful? The answer: mathematics.

News from the EIROs

A voyage through space, arts and the seven seas

Science in School is published by EIROforum, a collaboration between eight of Europe’s largest inter-governmental scientific research organisations. This article reviews some of the latest news from the EIROforum members (EIROs).

Cutting-edge science

Exploding chromosomes: how cancer begins

​Brain tumours are one of the most common causes of death in children – and may begin when chromosomes are torn apart during cell division.

On your bike: how muscles respond to exercise

​We all know that exercise makes us fitter and healthier – but what changes take place in our cells to make this happen?

Event reports

Science on Stage: a Slovak-British relationship

​For two science teachers from opposite ends of Europe – David Featonby and Zuzana Ješková – Science on Stage was the beginning of an inspiring and enjoyable collaboration.


Finding maths where you least expect it: interview with Marcus du Sautoy

​What makes viruses so virulent? Why do we enjoy music? Why is the Alhambra so beautiful? The answer? Mathematics!


The PhET website

Physics Education Technology (PhET to its friends) is the slick but not very meaningful title of a site that offers a wide range of excellent interactive physics simulations for secondary-school and university students.

The Wonder of Genetics: The Creepy, the Curious, and the Commonplace, by Richard V. Kowles

The Wonder of Genetics is a user-friendly guide through the wonderful – and, to some, scary – world of genetics.

Inflight Science: A guide to the world from your airplane window, by Brian Clegg

Holding this book in my hands as I boarded what would be an eight-hour flight, I planned to read the modest 204 pages whilst airborne. When we landed, I had managed just 70, thanks to all the observation, thinking and note-taking that Inflight Science: A guide to the world from your airplane window inspired.

Science education projects

Building a seismograph from scrap

Did you know that you can use old hi-fi speakers to detect earthquakes? And also carry out some simple earthquake experiments in the classroom? Here’s how.

Bread-making: teaching science in primary school

Something as everyday as bread can offer a surprising spectrum of interdisciplinary teaching opportunities.

Build your own radio telescope

​Astronomers use giant radio telescopes to observe black holes and distant galaxies. Why not build your own small-scale radio telescope and observe objects closer to home?

Science topics

Solar energy: silicon solar cells

​With oil reserves running out, silicon solar cells offer an alternative source of energy. How do they work and how can we exploit their full potential?

Intersex: falling outside the norm

Male or female? What are the issues surrounding children for whom the answer is not clear? Researchers Eric Vilain and Melissa Hines hope to provide some of the answers.

The white continent as a stepping stone to the red planet

For scientists at the European Space Agency, a mission to Mars means going to Antarctica first.

Scientist profiles

High-powered research: physicist Adrian Mancuso

​Physicist Adrian Mancuso works at the cutting edge of 3D imaging, at what will be Europe’s newest and brightest X-ray facility.

Teacher profiles

Nuclear options: a teacher at CERN

Physics teacher Günter Bachmann explains how his CERN residency has inspired both him and his students.

Teaching activities

Creating eclipses in the classroom

During an eclipse, the Sun or the Moon seems to disappear. What is happening? Why not explore this fascinating phenomenon in the classroom, with an easy to build model?