Press Release

"Physics and Life" - Teachers Meet Scientists at Major EIROforum Event

Year-long educational programme culminates at ESA's ESTEC site with the unique "Physics on Stage 3" festival during the European Science and Technology Week

5 November 2003

More than 400 selected delegates from 22 European countries will take part in "Physics on Stage 3" , organised by the EIROforum [1] research organisations (CERN, EFDA, EMBL, ESA, ESO, ESRF, ILL) at the ESA ESTEC site (Noordwijk, The Netherlands). It is the culmination of a year-long educational programme and is a central event during the EC-sponsored European Science and Technology Week (November 8-15, 2003).

Following the vastly successful preceeding events in 2000 and 2002, the main theme this year is "Physics and Life", reflecting the decision to broaden the Physics on Stage activities to encompass more of the natural sciences within an interdisciplinary approach. As before, European teachers, scientists, curricula organisers and others connected to the national education systems in Europe will gather with the main goal of exploring solutions to stimulate the interest of young people in science, by means of exciting and innovative teaching methods and materials.

The rich one-week programme has many components: spectacular and original performances by students and professional actors, intensive encounters at a central fair where each country will present the latest developments from its teaching community at their stands, workshops about a host of crucial themes related to the central mission of this programme, seminars where EIROforum scientists and experienced high school teachers get together to discuss new teaching opportunities based on the latest results from front-line research projects at Europe's leading science centres, as well as a publishers fair that will also serve as an international exchange for new educational materials. A mystery cultural event will surprise everyone with its originality. And last but not least, the annual European Science Teaching Awards - the highest distinction in this field - will be presented at the end of the meeting.

"Physics on Stage" is a joint project organised by EIROforum, together with the European Physical Society (EPS) and the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) . The project is funded in part by the European Commission and takes place under the auspices of the European Science and Technology Week 2003. It is directed by the EIROforum Working Group on Outreach that brings together key members of the seven organisations' respective outreach departments.

The "Physics on Stage 3" festival will be opened on Monday, November 10, by His Royal Highness, Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands. Among the distinguished guests will also be Her Excellency, Mrs. Maria van der Hoeven, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, as well as several Directors-General of the EIROforum organisations.

This "Physics on Stage 3" festival is the most visible event within a year-long programme with the very active involvement of National Committees in two dozen European countries, each of which organised national events or competitions, during which the 400 delegates to the festival were selected for their outstanding projects to promote science teaching. Among the many entries, for example, two young physicists from Germany focus on the beauty of physical phenomena, producing fractals and demonstrating the "Theremin", the only musical instrument played without being touched. In another demonstration, a team from the UK explore the nature of sound and the theme of genetics through drama, music and physical theatre. In this third international festival of physics education, biological and biochemical themes will also play a major role.

As usual, the colourful centrepiece of the week is the Fair. Every country has its own stand where delegates show their new, exciting and surprising projects, innovative software, elegant experiments, etc. In this highly inspiring atmosphere, the teachers exchange practical experience and insights, learning from each other and preparing themselves to bring back to their respective countries a rich harvest of new ideas and inspiration for better teaching of science.

"Physics on Stage 3" is thus a unique international event, both in terms of international exchange, opportunities for collaboration, as well as encounters between the still all too separate worlds of school education and state-of-the-art science and technology. The organisers cordially invite journalists to take part in this spectacular event, an extraordinary opportunity in political as well as in cultural, scientific and visual terms.


[1] This Press Release is issued jointly by the seven EIROforum partners: CERN - the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, EFDA - the European Fusion Development Agreement, EMBL - the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, ESA - the European Space Agency, ESO - the European Southern Observatory, ESRF - the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and ILL - Institut Laue-Langevin. Earlier ESO communications about EIROforum activities have been published as eso0121and eso0230 . Associated organisations in the "Physics on Stage 3" programme include the European Physical Society (EPS) and the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE) .

More information

To reach ESTEC from Amsterdam, take the A4 in the Den Haag-Rotterdam direction, then at the fork follow the A44. Take the Noordwijk-Voorhout exit, continue to Noordwijk and from there follow the ESTEC signs.

For more information on Physics on Stage 3 contact the Executive Coordinator: Helen Wilson or visit the website at


Helen Wilson
Executive Coordinator, Physics on Stage 3
Tel: (31) 71-565-55182

Richard West
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49-89-3200-6276

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About the Release

Release No.:eso0333
Legacy ID:PR 28/03
Name:Education, Meeting
Type:Unspecified : People