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University hosts largest science education conference in Europe


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The University of Reading is set to welcome some of the world’s leading figures in science for the biggest science education conference and exhibition in Europe.

Sir David Attenborough, Lord Robert Winston and Professor Steve Jones will be among the speakers for the Association for Science Education's Annual Conference (ASE), that will run from Wednesday, January 5 to Saturday, January 8.

The ASE conference, that is open to both members of ASE and non-members, is designed for anyone who may have an interest in science education including teachers, technicians and advisors.  The conference will comprise of 400 lectures and workshops, spread over three days.

Professor Gordon Marshall, Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "This is the highlight in the science education calendar and we look forward to welcoming 3,000 teachers from across the country and abroad.”

University of Reading academics will also be speaking on a variety of subjects in the conference's substantial Frontier Science lecture programme. Subjects covered include archaeology, climate change, chemistry, diet and nutrition, early parent-child relationships and visual intelligence.

Professor Marshall added: “We are proud to be part of the event and share our expertise in science and technology and the University's wonderful facilities."

The Frontier Science lecture series is an ideal opportunity to learn about the innovative research going on at the University."

University of Reading physics lecturer Dr Averil Macdonald will also be launching a new website at the conference entitled ‘Fantastic Plastic', to coincide with her work for the award-winning schools’ lecture programme.

As part of the University’s Science Outreach project Dr Macdonald has given lectures to thousands of students preparing to take GCSE science, and encouraging them to extend their studies to A-Level and beyond.

‘Fantastic Plastic’ charts the intriguing life-cycle of a polymer, challenging visitors to find the often-surprising links between conventional household objects like flat-screen televisions, lego blocks and baby’s nappies.

The theme of this year's conference, Leading Change in Science Education, is about ASE's leading role in the changing science education climate. Sessions at next year’s event will include a lecture on the adolescent brain, the benefits and pitfalls of cross-curricular learning and how to make physics lessons more friendly for girls.

The conference will also feature a number of special events hosted by some of the leading authorities in science education, including a introductory speech from Lord Robert Winston at the ASE Members' Reception on Thursday, January 6 from 5.15pm until 6.00pm.

Newly appointed ASE President Professor Steve Jones will give the ASE Presidential Address on Friday, January 7 at 2.00pm and Sir David Attenborough will present ‘The Natural Curriculum: Inspiring children to learn with nature' on Saturday, January 8 at 3.00pm. Sir David will also be introducing his Life on Land Encyclopaedia, a unique collection of DVDs specially designed for educational purposes.

Annette Smith, ASE CEO said: "We welcome our delegates to the University of Reading and hope that they find this year's conference to be both educational and fun."

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