The Prime Minister has given his backing to this year’s National Science Week, which launched yesterday. This year’s National Science Week runs from 12-21 March and sees hundreds of thousands of people of all ages taking part in science events across the UK.
“If we are to take full advantage of our strong research base and [the Government’s] extra investment we must both inspire young people and encourage public engagement with science,” said Mr Blair. “We need a strong dialogue that leads to improved mutual understanding between scientists and the public.
“That is why National Science Week is so important. It encourages people to engage with science through informative and fun events, and provides scientists with an opportunity to talk to people about their research and gain an understanding of the public’s views.”
At the launch of National Science Week on 11 March, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David King, added his support.
“Over the past year, the public has shown its interest and concerns over issues in science, from GM crops to Mars exploration to climate change,” said Sir David.
“National Science Week is a chance for us all to focus on the outstanding achievements of British science as well as the hopes and concerns of the public over the progress of science. It is also a chance for us to inspire our future generation of young scientists.”
Science events for everyone
From robot crusades to a scale model of the universe stretching the length and breadth of Britain, from the science of David Beckham to the mad science of the Ig Nobels, science is reaching out to everyone across the UK.
This year, 943 events have already been registered with National Science Week, from St Ives to Aberdeen, Cardiff to Belfast, with more discussion events than ever.
“Of course, it is important that during National Science Week we inspire and entertain visitors at science events,” said Dame Julia Higgins, President of the BA, speaking at the launch. “But it is equally important that the scientists take this opportunity to reach out to the public and give them the opportunity to discuss the issues which affect and concern them.”
A full programme of events can be found online at .
Spring into Science
In January, the BA launched Spring into Science with the Woodland Trust (the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity), an investigation looking for the first signs of spring. The investigation was designed so that people of all ages – from school children to office workers to pensioners – could take part, whether in an inner-city or rural area. Each observation logged helps the Woodland Trust and the UK Phenology Network to understand more about how the UK’s plants and animals are responding to a changing climate.
“Climate change is an issue that affects us all. For the sake of our future, it is important that we encourage the public to take an interest in the environment, to get outdoors and see for ourselves how nature works,” said Sir David at the National Science Week launch. “Spring into Science has been an important step towards this.”
Note for editors
1. The BA is the UK's nationwide, open membership organisation dedicated to connecting science with people, so that science and its applications become accessible to all. The BA aims to promote openness about science in society and to engage and inspire people directly with science and technology and their implications. Established in 1831, the BA organises major initiatives across the UK, including the annual BA Festival of Science, National Science Week, programmes of regional and local events, and an extensive programme for young people in schools and colleges.
For more information about the BA, please visit the-ba.net.
2. If you wish to expand the BA, please use the term ‘the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science)’ and not ‘British Association’.