Issue 5


Welcome to the fifth issue of Science in School

The most exciting recent education event for me was Science on Stage, EIROforum’s international teaching festival. I enjoyed meeting many of the 500 teachers attending from 28 countries – listening to their suggestions, hearing about their experience and marvelling at their innovative teaching ideas. We have two articles in this issue to tell you more about the festival and the European Science Teaching Awards that were presented there.

Cutting-edge science

Synchrotron light illuminates the orang-utan’s obscure origins

Paul Tafforeau from the University of Poitiers and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, explains what synchrotron X-ray studies of fossil teeth can tell us about the evolution of orang-utans – and our own origins.

Event reports

Science teaching flies high at Science on Stage 2

Science on Stage 2 took place during the first week of April and brought together some of the best science teachers in Europe. Montserrat Capellas describes some memorable moments.

Awards, rewards – and onwards!

At Science on Stage 2, the European Science Teaching Awards 2007 were presented for the 12 best projects. Eleanor Hayes, editor of Science in School, describes how the jury made their difficult decisions

School students Catch a Star! in an astronomical competition

In Issue 3 of Science in School we invited you to join an international competition for school students and Catch a Star! Later, some of you helped to select winners by voting online for your favourite pictures. Douglas Pierce-Price from ESO reports on the results.

Second European Science Festival: WONDERS 2007

Peter Rebernik from the WONDERS project describes a ride in the Carousel of Science from Moscow to Lisbon, Reykjavik to Jerusalem. Perhaps even in your town!


Down to Earth: interview with Thomas Reiter

Shortly before Christmas 2006, German ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter returned from the International Space Station. A month later, Barbara Warmbein asked him about his trip, the experiments he did – and how to become an astronaut.


The Selfish Gene and Richard Dawkins: How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think, By Richard Dawkins

“If you are not interested in how evolution came about, and cannot conceive how anyone could be seriously concerned about anything other than human affairs, then do not read it: it will only make you needlessly angry,” wrote John Maynard Smith about The Selfish Gene.

ChemMatters CD-ROM

ChemMatters is an award-winning magazine published quarterly by the American Chemical Society for secondary-school students.

A Clone of Your Own?, By Arlene Judith Klotzko

To clone or not to clone? That is the question that the book A Clone of Your Own? sets out to investigate.

Science and society

Developing a teaching resource on peer review

Ellen Raphael from the charity Sense About Science explains why peer review is so important in science, and describes how an existing guide is being adapted to meet the needs of science teachers.

Science education projects

Travel wisely: the globe is warming!

Elisabeth Schepers from the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany, introduces a school programme linking climate change and the future of traffic technology.

CyberMentor: e-mentoring to strengthen interest and participation of girls in STEM

Germany, like many other European countries, has difficulties attracting women into science. Diana Schimke from the University of Ulm, is working improve matters by putting schoolgirls directly in contact with women scientists.

Science topics

Fusion in the Universe: where your jewellery comes from

Does alchemy sound too good to be true? Paola Rebusco, Henri Boffin and Douglas Pierce-Price, from ESO in Garching, Germany, describe how creating gold – and other heavy metals – is possible, though sadly not in the laboratory.

Damn lies

Do you have more than the average number of ears? Is your salary lower than average? When will the next bus arrive? Ben Parker attempts to convince us of the value of statistics – when used correctly.

Taking the stress out of engineering

Darren Hughes from the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France takes a look at stress. How can it be manipulated to make safer rails for trains or more efficient wind turbines – and what can we learn from neutron- and X-ray analysis?

Plastics, naturally

We sit on them, wear them and cook with them: plastics are everywhere. Yet this very versatility and abundance makes it all the more difficult to produce and dispose of plastics in environmentally friendly ways. David Bradley explains how researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, are among those working on a solution.

Scientist profiles

Making dark matter a little brighter

Jenny List, a young particle physicist working at DESY in Germany, leads her own research group to find out how the Universe works. She talks to Barbara Warmbein.

Spotlight on education

Inspirational lessons in the science class

Naheed Alizadeh from Imperial College, London, UK, explains how and why the INSPIRE project is trying to make inspirational science lessons, clubs, and master classes regular features of the state school timetable in the UK.

Science Learning Centres: training for teachers

Anna Gawthorp describes the creation of the ambitious Science Learning Centres network to help UK teachers, technicians and classroom assistants to make UK science education world-class.

Twenty First Century Science: developing a new science curriculum

In September 2006, after a pilot phase, a new national curriculum for science was introduced for students aged 14-16 in England and Wales. Jenifer Burden explains how the new curriculum seeks to address both the scientific needs of all citizens, and the additional needs of future scientists.

Teacher profiles

Launching ideas

Isabel Plantier teaches biology and geology to 15-year-old students in Portugal. She has been teaching for 25 years and tells Sai Pathmanathan that time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Teaching activities

Fun with genomes: the Mycomuncher DNA Puzzle

Fed up with explaining genomes, genes and proteins? Why not get your students to figure it out for themselves using Johan Leveau’s DNA puzzle?

Using music in the science classroom

Caroline Molyneux, from Balshaw’s Church of England High School, UK, explains how she kick-starts her classes and helps her students remember certain lessons, facts or concepts.


Published and funded by EIROforum