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An ambitious program to encourage young people to consider a science career and to raise the value that young people see in the work of researchers is being launched this week by the British Council in Israel.
It begins in Tel Aviv on Thursday, with a Caf Scientifique, a public and informal forum where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The topic for discussion at the event is why some people find mathematics simple and stimulating while others find it impossibly difficult. The guest speaker will be mathematics Prof. David Tall of the University of Warwick in the UK.
A second Caf will take place on November 24 on the subject of robots versus human space exploration.
The events are being organized as part of the British Council's Researchers in Society (RISE) at Hemda, the Science Education Center of Tel Aviv, in cooperation with the Education Ministry's Science and Technology Authority. It is funded by the European Commission with the aim of changing public perception of the role of researchers. Both free events will be held at Hemda between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, said: "The initiative is a great opportunity for people to find out what it really means to be a researcher and to learn more about those who carry out this exciting work on a daily basis. I hope people will come away from these events with a better appreciation of what science today is all about, and that many will be encouraged to consider a career in research... If we are to meet our research needs in the EU, it is estimated that we must attract and train between 600,000 and 700,000 new researchers."
Yet, he said, Europe faces an aging, male dominated research population, and an ever increasing dropout rate among science undergraduates. Moreover, the general public feels increasingly disconnected from science while European surveys report widespread disinterest in science among young people. The RISE program contributes to the attainment of this target with a range of activities to engage and inspire organized in major cities across Europe and in Israel.
The British Council is the UK's international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations that operates in in 220 towns and cities in 110 countries worldwide.