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EIROforum – Physics on stage


The EIROforum is a collaboration between seven European intergovernmental scientific research organisations that are responsible for infrastructures and laboratories. As world leaders within their respective fields of science, the seven member organisations of the EIROforum constitute the vanguard of European science, enabling European scientists to engage in truly cutting-edge research and be competitive on a global scale. These organisations have a vital role to play in the future of European research. The seven EIROforum members are:

  • European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN
  • European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL
  • European Space Agency, ESA
  • European Southern Observatory, ESO
  • European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, ESRF
  • Institut Laue–Langevin, ILL

The idea to set up the initial ‘Physics on Stage’ programme was first discussed by representatives of the CERN, ESA and ESO Outreach Departments in early 1999, in response to the European Commission’s Call for Proposals for the European Science and Technology Week 2000.

ESO already had some positive experience of a Europe-wide programme involving physics teachers from a project carried out for the EC-sponsored 1994 European Week for Scientific Culture.

On that occasion, more than 100 astronomy-oriented high-school physics teachers from approximately 20 countries met at the ESO Headquarters – the most visible result being the creation of the European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE). Clearly, the unique opportunity to encounter numerous colleagues from other geographical areas was considered to be an extremely useful experience by the participants, especially due to the associated exchange of experience and transfer of educational methods and materials.

The joint proposal for ‘Physics on Stage’ was submitted to the EC (Directorate General for Research) on June 1, 1999. It was agreed early in the discussions that the project would have the following key objectives:

  • Draw attention to the low level of scientific (and particularly physics) literacy among European citizens.
  • Propose innovative and practical solutions to this problem.
  • Establish a network of experts on physics teaching and popularisation from all over Europe.
  • Produce and distribute materials that highlight the opinions and recommendations of these experts.

To learn more:

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