In Spain, it is well known that secondary school students’ motivation to study Science (especially Mathematics) is not very strong. This is a common problem to almost all Europe. Spanish and Andalusian governments have general policies on education to promote the study of Science. They are necessary and convenient. However, we think that local actions in the students’ environment, which supplement these policies, are also needed.
Mathematics is often perceived as a dull, uninteresting and unpopular subject. It is socially acceptable to say in public that one is 'no good' at mathematics, and the subject is often undervalued or disparaged in the media by public figures.
Many existing initiatives aim to improve the public image of mathematics in schools, through teaching and in the media. However, the majority of the population is not 'reached' by books, mathematics lectures and programmes on elite radio stations and TV channels.
Our hands-on activity aims to convey that cutting-edge science is often hidden in plain sight, and accessible to people of all age groups and backgrounds. This is exemplified nowhere better than with Graphene, the world’s first two dimensional material, which was considered not to exist in a stable form. Graphene was first isolated only in 2004 by Manchester scientists Geim and Novoselov who were awarded the Nobel Prize for their efforts. Our activity allows just about anyone to make their own graphene with nothing more than a piece of graphite (pencil lead) and sticky tape like ‘Scotch’ tape. Indeed, this is identical to the way graphene was first isolated and now produced in high-tech clean room laboratories around the world. With this activity, we endeavour to allow people of all walks of life to experience the latest advances in science, and we reward their efforts with a chocolate Nobel medal!
Chemistry is evil, malicious, nasty and malevolent?
When the word chemistry comes to our minds, automatically we make negative associations as pollution, wastes or toxicity. We believe that this vision is outdated, in modern societies, as the benefits of the chemistry surpass the potential risks that entails. Chemistry can be displayed in an enjoyable and good-humoured way, and it can transmit positive aspects.
ES4FUN is a Physics-driven innovation platform with the aim of spreading both universal scientific phenomena and concepts in game context, with research high-tech and video+audio clip support. The organized events have multitudinary character, scientific-party-disco atmosphere, and active participation of all the attendants in their results.