EIRoforum Teachers' School: "The physics and chemistry of life" at epn campus
How do we bridge the gap between cutting-edge research and the science lessons taught in schools? How to instil a taste for science into today’s youngsters? Is it possible to inspire them through the international and multidisciplinary atmosphere reigning in world-class research institutes such as the ESRF, ILL and EMBL? During four days, from 9 to 12 October, the labs, meeting rooms and corridors of the EPN Science Campus resonated with activity of teachers aiming to answer questions such as these.
Selected from a pool of 200 candidates the 30 teachers were invited to participate in the Teachers school organised by EIROforum. Two years after the first school at CERN, entitled “The evolution of the universe”, the topic this time was “The physics and chemistry of life”, a dive into the infinitesimal world surrounding us, a world which, although very close to us, is still so full of mysteries. An “unforgettable experience”, was the impression of many of the teachers, who came from 15 different countries. The intensive programme, with 8 lectures and 3 tutorials plus visits to the institutes (ESRF, ILL and EMBL Grenoble outstation), allowed them to discover how electrons, neutrons and photons are used to decipher the hidden structures of matter. They also had time for discussion, among themselves and with the scientists, to help them convert this new knowledge into educational material for the classroom.
A 6 minute video summarises the events of the EIROforum Teachers School and includes some thoughts from the teachers, scientists and organisers.
The unanimous conclusion by the teachers was that the initiative should be regularly repeated. The organisers and scientists involved were no less enthusiastic and expressed great appreciation for the exchanges the School had offered with participants. Their hope now is that the science teachers will be taking the experience back to their classrooms and passing the knowledge on to the hundreds of students they teach.