Issue 17


Welcome to the seventeenth issue of Science in School

Do men and women share the same sense of humour? Perhaps, but their brains react differently to it, as Allan Reiss explains in this issue’s feature article. 

Cutting-edge science

Human evolution: testing the molecular basis

In the second of two articles, Jarek Bryk describes how scientists dig deep into our genes – to test the molecular basis of an evolutionary adaptation in humans.

Science is cool... supercool

When we cool something below its freezing point, it solidifies – at least, that’s what we expect. Tobias Schülli investigates why this is not always the case.

Event reports

Science on Stage: searching for the best teachers in Europe

In more than 20 European countries, teachers are sharing their inspiring teaching ideas with colleagues, students and the general public via Science on Stage. Eleanor Hayes reviews some of the recent events.

Teachers fly high at the European Space Agency

Eleanor Hayes reports on the recent teacher workshop at the European Space Research and Technology Centre.


The science of humour: Allan Reiss

Men and women react differently to humour. Allan Reiss tells Eleanor Hayes why this is news.

Resources on the web

Educational resources for the International Year of Biodiversity

The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). Ivo Grigorov, Lise Cronne and Giulia Realdon provide a collection of web resources for teachers and students on the occasion.


Very Short Introductions to Evolution, Human Evolution and the History of Life, By Brian and Deborah Charlesworth (Evolution), Bernard Wood (Human Evolution) and Michael J Benton (The History of Life)

How short is ‘very short’? Well, pretty short – between 120 and 150 pages. The pages are small, too, 175 mm x 110 mm, but then so is the type. ‘Introduction?’ …well, it depends what’s being introduced.

A Private Universe online resources, By Matthew H Schneps and Philip M Sadler

A Private Universe depicts a very familiar situation for teachers worldwide, namely that students do not let go of their misconceptions as easily as might be expected after a detailed and thorough learning process.

Science education projects

School experiments at the nanoscale

Eleanor Hayes highlights some education resources about the nanoscale and nanotechnology.

Stage lights: physics and drama

Imagine sending music across the room by laser. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? But Alessio Bernardelli’s students did just that – and then developed a play to explain the science behind it. Here’s how to do it.

Science topics

A hole in the sky

Twenty-five years ago, the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer hit the news. How have things developed since? Tim Harrison and Dudley Shallcross investigate.

Clouds: puzzling pieces of climate

The physics of clouds and their role in our climate have perplexed scientists for decades. Karin Ranero Celius investigates.

Scientist profiles

An astronomer in a 3D world

What do astronomy and film have in common? Both can involve Jochen Liske, astronomer and actor. Karin Ranero Celius takes us on a trip to the Paranal Observatory in Chile and tells us about Jochen’s latest film: Das Auge 3D.

Teacher profiles

Blind date in the science classroom

Biology and chemistry teacher Werner Liese talks to Marlene Rau about the challenges of performing science experiments with blind and visually impaired students.

Teaching activities

Going ballistic: modelling the trajectories of projectiles

Students often find it difficult to calculate the trajectories of projectiles. With the help of Elias Kalogirou’s model, they can be easily visualised. In addition, Ian Francis suggests further uses for the model in the classroom.

Bioinformatics with pen and paper: building a phylogenetic tree

Bioinformatics is usually done with a powerful computer. With help from Cleopatra Kozlowski, however, you can investigate our primate ancestry – armed with nothing but a pen and paper.


Published and funded by EIROforum