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RDT info logoMagazine on European research Special issue - February 2007   

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Bill Stirling (left) with the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik
“EIROforum has become a major player in European science”
He has been the Director General of the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) since 2001, covering essentially the period during which the EIROforum collaboration has matured. Today, Bill Stirling talks about his experience as chairman of this group, its past and its directions for the future.

EIRO forum
Bringing science out of the lab
Science is moving more rapidly than ever: one groundbreaking discovery follows the next. While schoolteachers have trouble keeping up with the latest research, many pupils call science lessons “boring”. In Spring 2006, EIROforum responded to this contradiction by launching Science in School, the first international, multi-disciplinary journal for innovative science teaching.

Aerial View of CERN with the path of the LEP tunnel and the future LHC. CERN

  • Matter: the fundamental particles
  • And then there were particles
  • Help from the strings
  • The promise of the large collider


  • All eyes are on ITER
  • A calculated gamble
  • The ambitious adventure of fusion
  • JET, the pioneering test bed for ITER

The Cadarache site, in the south of France, with a mock-up of the ITER facility. The new reactor should be operational by 2016.

Cerenkov effect visible in the ILL reactor pool. The blue light stems from a phenomenon of water polarisation when high-energy electrons pass through it. These electrons are created by gamma rays produced by the fission process in the reactor core. ILL

  • Neutrons in the service of science
  • Is energy really equal to mc2?
  • The mystery of Martian magnetism
  • From neutrons to neurons


  • The era of new light
  • Seeing the invisible
  • Life through the eye of the synchrotron
  • Deciphering the origins of life

ESRF synchrotron ring at Grenoble.

As well as being a centre of excellence in molecular biology attracting the best researchers, EMBL also attaches great importance to the training of undergraduate and PhD students. EMBL

  • At the cutting edge of European life sciences
  • The tree of life in the genomic era
  • Who was Urbilateria?
  • In the beginning, there was shape


  • European space without frontiers
  • The revolutions of offshore science
  • The sentinels of the Earth System
  • Our neighbours – Mars and Venus

Launching of the Giove-A satellite.

The Tarantula Nebula, situated in the Large Magellanic Cloud, taken by the VLT. ES0

  • The fascination of the cosmos
  • The black hole saga
  • The message of the gamma-ray bursts
  • The search for exoplanets