Attila Aszódi
(Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest):
Nuclear energy – acceptance or rejection

The Hungarian government signed an agreement with Russia in 2014 on the construction of two new units at the site of the four-unit Paks nuclear power plant. This decision – based on the National Energy Policy adopted in 2011 – determines the future of the Hungarian electricity production for the next decades. Public acceptance of a new nuclear construction can be a key point of the success of the project, which is determined by the public awareness. It is essential to educate environmentally and socially conscious youth, but also to provide them with the necessary technical knowledge to ensure that the next generation can have a well-based judgement of energy-related issues instead of emotional approach. The presentation gives an overview about the Paks 2 project and the possible methods of information and education of the next generation concerning the energy policy including the new nuclear units, paying special attention to explaining the safety and environmental effects of the new reactors.

David Featonby
(Institute of Physics, UK):
Science on Stage Europe – inspiration for teachers by teachers

Science on stage is a network of and for science and technology teachers of all school levels which provides a European platform for the exchange of teaching ideas and highlights the importance of science and technology at school and among the public, through it's biannual festivals, its exchange programme for both ideas and teachers, and its joint working projects.

Ulrike Feudel
(Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment, Oldenburg, Germany):
How to get highschool students interested in science:
Lessons from the analysis of complex system in nature

We discuss how simple practicals can introduce the theory of complex systems to students in highschool. To show the connection of this theory to processes in nature we use a collection of simple systems describing natural phenomena. One natural system covered by this approach is the thermohaline ocean circulation as a prominent example from climate research. Discussing the emergence of oscillations in population dynamics does not only shows how methods of theoretical physics are used in other disciplines like ecology but also emphasizes the importance of bridging disciplines to tackle problems in nature. Starting from simple maps one can give some insights into the properties of chaotic systems, e.g. using the logistic map as a model for the competition of individuals for resources. By employing such simple models one is able to explain basic phenomena observed in complex systems in nature like self-sustained oscillations, chaos and bifurcations to highschool students.

Miha Kos
(House of Experiments, Ljubljana, Slovenia):
Doubtology (Science adventure – an interactive talk)

The concept of "teaching" needs to be redefined into "inspire to learn". We are aware of the fact that our knowledge is made out of the stuff we learned by ourselves because we were curious and interested in the topic. A good teacher (inspirer) triggers curiosity, questions and debate among the students. It is also important to be aware of the importance of encouraging doubts and critical thinking in the inspiring (teaching) process in order to induce creativity. The Doubtology is a science adventure (show) that "plays" with people's common sense and plants some seeds of doubt.

Marisa Michelini
(GIREP President, Physics Education Research Unit, University of Udine, Italy):
Research based proposals to build modern physics way of thinking in secondary students

Conceptual knots in classical physics are often quoted to argue the exclusion of modern physics in secondary school, but the physics of the last century is now part of the secondary school curricula in many EU countries and in the last 10 years appear in secondary textbooks, even if in not organic way and with a prevalent narrative approach. Therefore, a wide discussion on goals, rationale, contents, instruments and methods for its introduction in secondary school curriculum is now increasing. Modern physics in secondary school is a challenge which involves the possibility to transfer to the future generations a culture in which physics is an integrated part, not a marginal one, involving curricula innovation, teacher education and physics education research in a way that allows the students to manage them in moments of organized analysis, in everyday life, in social decisions. In the theoretical framework of the Model of Educational Reconstruction, we developed a research based educational proposal organized in five perspective directions: 1) the analysis of some fundamental concepts in different theories, i.e. state, measure, cross section; 2) problem solving by means of a semi-classical interpretation of some physics research experimental analysis techniques; 3) the study of phenomena bridging different theories in physics interpretation, i.e. diffraction; 4) phenomenological exploration of new phenomena, i.e. superconductivity, 5) approaching the basic concepts in quantum mechanics to develop formal thinking starting from phenomena exploration of simple experiments of light polarization. Research is focus on contributing to practice developing vertical coherent content related learning proposals by means of Design Based Research to produce learning progression and finding ways to offer opportunities for understanding and experience what physics is, what it deals with and how it works in operative way. Empirical data analysis of student reasoning in intervention modules support proposed strategies. The talk will present the research outcomes in terms of the approaches and the paths proposed for the last three perspectives: diffraction proposal, superconductivity phenomena exploration and quantum mechanics proposal.

Zoltán Néda
(Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania):
All-pervading light – or how the kinematic of modern physics is grounded on light

Light, and electromagnetic waves in general, are our basic and most important source for getting informations about the Universe around us. Have you ever thought on how the physics of a society who never experienced electromagnetic waves would look like? Have you ever wondered on how the space-time entity of physics is built? Have you been fascinated about the none-existence of “ether” or an absolute reference frame for the propagation of light-rays? If Not, probably you do have problems in understanding the essence of the special theory of relativity. If Yes, you should probably skip this talk and the rest of my abstract. After reviewing some basic knowledge about light, here I propose to rigorously construct the basic entities of kinematics. The main tool will be electromagnetic waves, and particularly light-rays. Both the geometry of the physical space and the physical time in any point of a reference frame will be defined using light-rays. After such a mathematically orthodox construction, the special theory of relativity will result naturally, and “ether” will be lost forever. One will clearly understand and easily accept all those puzzling consequences that makes presently the theory of relativity hard to digest. My believe is, that such an approach could be extremely useful in teaching the main ideas of Einstein’s relativity theory for high-school and/or university students. I am glad to deliver this talk in 2015, the year which was proclaimed by the UNESCO as the “International year of light and light-based technologies.” This was not on purpose, nor was it a coincidence, but rather, as Jung or Pauli would say, by synchronicity.

Hannu Salmi
(University of Helsinki, Finland):
Bridging the gap between the formal education and informal learning via science centre pedagogy

To promote public understanding of science, new forms of education are actively being sought. A huge amount of information, especially about modern phenomena, is obtained in a personal way from family, friends and peer groups. Furthermore, the roles of television, libraries, magazines and newspapers, and of course by ICT and web-based reality are essential. Informal learning has often been regarded as the opposite and criticism of formal education. However, since 2000s, informal education has become a widely accepted and integral part of school system.
The number of science centres – and their visitors – have increased regularly during the last decade. Most of these forms of education can be classified as informal learning, either focused on young people via informal, out-of-school education programmes or as clearly informal learning occurring totally outside any educational institutes for young people or adults. We have to head towards the evidence based education via teacher training. There is all too much anecdotes and every-day-experiences related to science education and informal learning. There has to be more reliable link between research communities and teacher training.
The role of informal learning is increasing in the modern societies – meaning the countries which are developing their societies by investing and creating opportunities for research, innovations, and education. The phenomenon is closely related to the growing impact of science and technology in our everyday lives. Lifelong learning needs new practical forms, and the formal education can learn something from the informal, open learning environments like the science centres.
Science centres have been pioneering the hands-on science learning in Europe for the last decade. A science centre is a learning laboratory in two senses: First of all, it is a place where visitors can learn scientific ideas by themselves using interactive exhibit units. Secondly, it is a place where informal education can be studied in an open learning environment. The multidiscipline contents of modern science centre exhibitions form a unique and reliable learning source.

György Szabó
(MTA Wigner Research Centre for Physics, Budapest):
Game theory in secondary school

The traditional game theory provides a general mathematical framework to study quantitatively simplified real-life situations on the analogy of physics. The successful communication and application of many new relevant results in biology, human behavior, and social sciences can be supported by teaching the alphabet of game theory and some fundamental results in the secondary schools. Now we survey and discuss two elementary games illustrating the maintenance of cooperation among selfish individuals and the enhancement of social efficiencies for coordination type interactions. Additionally we briefly demonstrate how the games of theory of games can be played by students in classroom with the application of the modern tools of informatics. Experimental courses in secondary schools have indicated clearly that these enjoyable topics and approaches improve the activity of students and enhance their interest in mathematics and physics.

Miklós Vincze
(MTA-ELTE Theoretical Physics Research Group, Budapest, Hungary –
Brandenburg Technical University, Dept. of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Cottbus, Germany):
Modeling climate change in the laboratory

Due to the principle of hydrodynamic similarity the model flow of a shallow water layer in a tabletop-size rotating laboratory tank matches some key features of large-scale phenomena in the atmosphere and the ocean strikingly well. By heating the water tank at one of its lateral sidewalls one can initiate a buoyancy-driven overturning flow that can be made similar (in the word's strict, mathematical sense) to convective flow patterns like Hadley cells in the atmosphere or the Meridional Overturning Circulation in the Atlantic ocean. The Coriolis force, arising when rotating the experimental apparatus, yields the formation of cyclones and anticyclones, which can be observed with dye tracing or via infrared thermography. Beyond the evident educational value of such a simple experiment (a perfect tool for the demonstration of the complexity of weather, and its basic underlying physics for students), similar laboratory setups are still actively studied in several research laboratories worldwide dedicated to environmental flows. Our von Kármán Laboratory, based at Eötvös University is one of these institutions. An experimental apparatus here, based on the aforementioned principles, has turned out to be a remarkably useful test bed to validate techniques and numerical models operational in weather forecasting. Our ongoing research is focusing on "climate change" in such an experimental cofiguration. Climate change scenarios can be modeled by slowly, continuously decreasing the temperature difference between the two sidewalls of the tank, imitating the effect of global warming (which, generally, also yields decreasing equator-to-pole temperature difference on Earth). As these boundary conditions slowly change, we can observe how the "weather" in the tank reacts to this non-stationary forcing. Such laboratory investigations may support the better understanding of the causal connections between global warming and the increasing number of unusually warm or cold seasons observed coincidentally in the past 30 years at the mid-latitudes of Earth.

©   Kiraly Andrea 2015      Last modification: 2016.08.15. 08:14:06