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Friday, June 11, 2010

Particle physicists through the eyes of children

Particle physicists through the eyes of children: "
'Draw me a physicist, please' credit: CERN

By James Dacey

Here's my pick from a collection of artwork produced by schoolchildren in France and Switzerland who were asked to 'draw me a physicist'.

The kids, who came from 20 primary school classes from the Pays de Gex and the Canton of Geneva, were given the opportunity to visit CERN and to interview some of the physicists there.

'The picture of the world of research we get from them is full of surprises,' explains Corinne Pralavorio, who handled the project on the CERN side. 'It's a mirror, allowing us to see how young people out there perceive scientists.'

There is a history dating back to the 1970s of sociologists using artwork to gauge children's perceptions of scientists. It is thought of as a useful way to explore some of the assumptions and stereotypes that may encourage or deter pupils from opting to take a career in science.

From 12 to 23 June CERN will exhibit more than 160 drawings and definitions by children on the subject of scientific research. If you can't make it (or can't wait that long), then you can see a selection of the images here.

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