History of the project
Commissioner Busquin and other VIPs enjoy the first Physics on Stage festival
Science on Stage is a European initiative to foster and share innovative science teaching. It evolved from the Physics On Stage programme, which was initiated in 1999 by representatives of the CERN, ESA and ESO Outreach Departments, in response to the European Commission’s Call for Proposals for the European Science and Technology Week 2000.
The key objectives of that programme were to draw attention to the low level of scientific (and particularly physics) literacy among European citizens; to propose innovative and practical solutions to this problem and to establish a network of experts on physics teaching and popularisation from all over Europe.
Previous projects had proved that bringing together teachers from across Europe was an extremely useful experience, especially due to the associated exchange of experience and transfer of educational methods and materials. With this in mind, the structure of the programme (national activities followed by an international festival) was determined.
The active involvement of National Steering Committees was crucial for success and the best guarantee for wide local attention to this European programme. National events were held in the majority of countries and led to a wide spectrum of high-quality activities being represented at the first Physics on Stage festival, held at CERN in November 2000.
The participants left the event with renewed enthusiasm and a better understanding of the central problems associated with the current crisis in scientific literacy in Europe. In this sense, the Physics on Stage programme fully achieved its primary goal and provided a most important demonstration of how current physics teaching can be vastly improved and stimulated. In addition to the fundamental aspects of cross-fertilisation and increased motivation, this unusual market place also set the initial frame for continued interactions between many teachers in different European regions.
Following on from a successful beginning
Physics on Stage 3 Opening Ceremony
There was an expressed desire from the physics teaching community that this kind of programme should continue. The European Commission also gave strong indication that, given the broad impact of Physics on Stage, a sequel would be most welcome.
ESA took the first step in this direction, by organising and funding the Physics on Stage 2 festival at ESA-ESTEC in April 2002, with support from CERN, ESRF, EMBL, EFDA and ESO. This once again brought together a large number of the most active and progressive physics teachers in Europe.
Immediately after this, a proposal for Physics on Stage 3 was drawn up by the organisers, who were now officially members of the new EIROforum Working Group on Outreach and Education (see www.eiroforum.org). This proposal, which built on past success by adding a number of new elements, was accepted for funding by the European Commission within the scheme for the European Week of Science and Technology 2003. It culminated in a third festival at ESA-ESTEC in November 2003.
Establishing a long-term framework
Science in School Journal
In 2004, plans were drawn up for a four year programme, to be supported by all seven EIROforum partners. This 'European Science Teachers Initative'(ESTI) is building on the success of Physics on Stage and other educational projects carried out by the partners. It has two key elements:
The first Science on Stage festival took place at CERN, Geneva, in November 2005. The second is planned for April 2007 at ESRF/ILL in Grenoble.
- Science on Stage - which follows the model of Physics on Stage (national activities leading to international festivals) but is targeted to teachers of all natural sciences
- Science in School - a quarterly journal for science teachers, highlighting the best in teaching and cutting-edge research.
Last update: 6 February 2007