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Cymraeg

How do we encourage the next generation of scientists?, asks Nobel laureate

04 August 2008

Filming/interview opportunity at National Eisteddfod TODAY (Monday 4 August) 3:30pm detailed at end of release

Wales’ leading scientist is warning that unless more young people in Wales are inspired to study science and technology subjects, we risk ‘dumbing down’ as a nation.

On the day the National Eisteddfod’s Science and Technology Pavilion is officially opened, Cardiff University’s Sir Martin Evans, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, is urging teachers, parents, guardians and employers to find new and innovative ways to engage young people with science to secure next generation scientists and Wales’ place in the hi-tech future.

Professor Sir Martin Evans, who won the Nobel Prize for his part in a series of ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals, will be visiting Cardiff University’s stand next to the Science and Technology Pavilion where interactive exhibitions allow youngsters (and the young of heart) to get hands-on and experiment with all kinds of science up close.

Speaking about his increasing alarm at the continued lack of engagement in science, Sir Martin said: "As we move into the exam results season, it’s almost inevitable that debate will begin again around the number of students failing to opt for science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

"And every year the reasons cited seem to be the same -lack of suitably qualified teachers, too basic teaching environments amid funding issues, and health and safety concerns, perceptions that these subjects are hard and boring, and the current curriculum design which can put pupils off, particularly girls.

"In my opinion one of the big difficulties is how we sell science to the public and particularly to the younger generation. It is so often presented as of mere technological or economic importance but in reality it is the way that we can understand the world in which we live. We are not technicians; we are explorers and visionaries. We should not be saying to students ‘study science to get a useful job’ rather ‘study science to make sense of world about you.

Located next to the Science and Technology Pavilion, Cardiff University’s pavilion includes specially commissioned interactive ‘Hubs’, developed with its strategic partner Techniquest and inspired by world-leading research across the University. They offer exciting insights to engage people of all ages into diverse topics ranging from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences’ research into global warming to the School of Chemistry’s work on Penrose Tiles. A third ‘Hub’, created with the School of Engineering and sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will feature exhibits around medical imaging.

Also taking place at the University’s stand will be demonstrations, displays, talks, book launches and presentations from staff and students across the University. For more information visit: www.cardiff.ac.uk/eisteddfod.

ENDS

INTERVIEW / PHOTO OPPORTUNITY Monday 4 August 3:30pm

Media representatives are invited to a filming/photo and interview opportunity Monday 4 August 3:30pm at the Cardiff University tent next to the Science and Technology Pavilion, National Eisteddfod Maes.

Meet Professor Sir Martin Evans who will be getting hands on and interactive with new science hubs and can be interviewed about how to encourage the next generation of scientists to ensure Wales thrives in a high-tech world.

The new Cardiff University/Techniquest hubs offer exciting insights to engage people of all ages into diverse topics taught across the University, from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences’ research into global warming to the School of Chemistry’s work on Penrose Tiles. A third ‘Hub’, created with the School of Engineering and sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will feature exhibits around medical imaging.

Further Information:

Emma Darling,

Public Relations,

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 20874499

Mobile: 07970963633

E-mail DarlingEL@cardiff.ac.uk