Thursday, 18 June 2009

The ASE Annual Conference

Mrs U. McNulty and Mrs B. McConville from St Paul’s High School Bessbrook, Mrs B. Forde and Mrs G. Doherty from St Colman’s College, Violet Hill, Newry, represented two of the science specialist schools from SELB at the Association for Science Education Annual Conference at the University of Reading in January 2009.

Twenty teachers from schools in Northern Ireland and their science advisers enjoyed access to a vast range of courses, exhibitions, resources, debates and presentations in a wide range of diverse science topics. The conference lived up to its promise to be “informing, invigorating and inspiring” for science education in our schools and all teachers expressed the wish to return next year.


Science Events 2008-2009

These will be a number of Science Events taking place. The year starts off with a CLEAPSS Health & Safety Day for our Heads of Science.

  • Jan 09 CLEAPSS H&S for Heads of Science. SELB venue St Patrick's College Dungannon on 16th.
  • April Irish Science Teachers' Association (ISTA) Conference at the Strand Hotel
  • May CCEA practicals Chemistry 11th (or 15th); Physics 13th (or 14th)
  • May 12, 13 and 14th CLEAPSS Chemical Safety for Technicians in NEELB, SELB and WELB. SELB venue Dromore HS on the 13th.
  • June 10th EasyDatalogging in The Clounagh Centre
  • June 15th QUB Chemistry for NI Science Technicians
  • June 18th Young Innovators, W5 Belfast and Primary Science & Technology Final
  • June 22nd Interim Radiation Protection Supervisor training in Clounagh
  • June 28th - 30th NI Science Technicians course in National Science Learning Centre, York: "Technicians as Demonstrators - The Practical Expert in the Classroom" 30 places.
  • July 3rd ASE National Technicians’ Conference and Training Day, University of Manchester
  • Sept 29th and 30th and Oct 1st Advisers planning CLEAPSS Practical Skills and Techniques in Chemistry in NEELB, SELB and WELB.
Visit and for more details.


CLEAPSS for Science Departments

The new CLEAPSS CD ROM arrives in SELB schools just before Christmas each year. The previous edition expires on Jan 31st. From 2009 a separate C2K version will not be posted to you; instead a 2-page instruction sheet has been emailed to your department to enable your C2K Authorised User to put the current information on the system.

For the first time this year, the CD ROM contents have been made available online at Access is restricted to members only for some sections, including all new advice since the latest CD ROM was produced.

The password is available on the CD ROM and has been emailed to your HoD and Science Technician recently.

The new-look Bulletins should also be in your department by now, check out their very useful tips and updates!


2009 International Year of Astronomy

The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.

Everyone should realise the impact of astronomy and other fundamental sciences on our daily lives, and understand how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society. IYA2009 activities will take place locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. National Nodes have been formed in each country to prepare activities for 2009. These nodes will establish collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers, science centres and science communicators to prepare activities for 2009. Already now, 135 countries are involved and well over 140 are expected to participate eventually.

To help coordinate this huge global programme and to provide an important resource for the participating countries, the IAU has established a central Secretariat and an IYA2009 website as the principal IYA2009 resource for public, professionals and media alike.


The International Space Station

The Space Shuttle programme took another step forward on Monday 17 Nov 2008 with the arrival of equipment to double the accomodation for the crew. Space shuttle astronauts delivered tons of custom upgrades to the International Space Station on Monday and prepared for their first spacewalk to restore the outpost to full power.

Working from inside the space station's Destiny laboratory, shuttle Endeavour crew members Don Pettit and Shane Kimbrough used a robotic crane to move an Italian-built cargo canister from the shuttle's payload bay and fly it to a berthing port on the station.

The canister holds two new sleeping compartments, a second toilet, galley equipment and a water regeneration system to recycle urine into drinking water.

The gear is needed to support six crew on the $100 billion station, twice the current crew size.

"By going to a crew of six, we expand opportunities for ourselves and our partners to fly astronauts to do the kinds of experiments for which the space station was built," said NASA administrator Michael Griffin.

It is NASA's fourth and final shuttle mission of the year. Nine more flights are planned before the three-ship fleet is retired in 2010.

NASA and Russia have been building the space station for 10 years. It is scheduled to be finished in 2010, at a cost of more than $100 billion. Europe, Canada and Japan also are project participants. (Editing by Chris Wilson)