Brussels, 18 Jul 2003
A week of science activities dedicated to raising scientific awareness. On popular demand, Science Week is back. What's in store for 2003?
Now in its tenth year, the European Science Week has proven to be a durable weapon in the European European's science awareness arsenal. In fact, 'Science Week' is a bit of misnomer. While the main thrust the event occurs during the week 3-9 November, activities under the Science Week umbrella also take place throughout the year.
Science Week's main strength is that it stresses the importance of 'showing' rather than 'telling' young Europeans, in particular, how science and technology can have a very real and rewarding effect on their daily lives. "My wish is to see science become an integral part of our culture in Europe. Initiatives such as Science Week help to show that science has a human face and that it is not only about rigour and calculation. Doubts, mistakes, controversy, dreams … they are all part of science too," says Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin in his welcome on the Science Week website.
As a focal point for national initiatives, and with more activities in more cities around Europe than ever, according to Science Week's literature, it is looking to send an important message that science has more to it than meets the eye. Contrary to its dull, lab-coat wearing image, it can also be a great source of fun and a fruitful career path.
Coming to a cinema, stage, website, … near you
Through its sponsorship of Science Week Europe and other Science and Society initiatives, the European Commission is determined to forge closer ties between the world of science and the everyday lives of European citizens.
This year's roster of activities offers something for everyone. From a website presenting student science projects unravelling the mysteries of today's technologies to a science-teaching fair and on-stage performances, culminating in the European Science Teaching Awards to honour the physics teaching profession.
Other activities bringing science to life during Science Week include screenwriting competitions in schools, a mobile science centre and an exhibition explaining how fuel cell technology works. Taking a similar contemporary approach, one project presents state-of-the-art developments in the field of high-tech garments, providing product demonstrations, a video presentation of the different technologies and a professional fashion show.
One project plans to distribute a special newspaper and organise café debates, games, DNA exhibits and workshops in order to gauge young people's attitudes towards life sciences in general. Yet another wants to show how important 'net awareness' has become as more and more people are getting on-line at school, at work and in their homes.
Awareness of the environment and our oceans is the subject of another Science Week activity. While one novel project takes European children on a 'virtual' (on-line) tour of the city of the future and a 'real' tour of a 'science village' in the mountains of Austria, where a week of fun science experiments and activities awaits a few lucky European students.