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“Exposciences Auvergne”: when young people engage with science

“Exposciences Auvergne”: when young people engage with science

Organized since 1992, Fairs Auvergne It gives young people aged 3 to 25 the opportunity to develop their own science projects over the course of a year, whether in school, leisure or family, before presenting them to the public on a platform during the Spring Festival. They are called to adopt a scientific approach in order to “explore the world” without an imposed subject. Hence, all topics: digital, biodiversity, health, earth sciences, etc. are likely to be covered since its inception. Fairs Auvergne 19,000 young people from Auvergne were allowed to present 1,000 projects to about 75,000 visitors.
This year, for 4 days, in addition to the “Youth Neighborhood”, a science village and programs are offered by a range of stakeholders in scientific culture: associations, museums, laboratories and even artists running workshops and meeting the general public at Polydome.

“Is scientific culture part of culture? »

The demonstration Fairs Auvergne It is organized by a group of partners grouped around the Astoux Science Association of which François Brugière is vice-president. For this former teacher, who is still very active, promoting scientific culture remains a hobby.

Olivier Perrott: Is it still necessary to promote scientific culture?
François Brugier: There are still obstacles and there are also representations that have to evolve to understand that they are interesting, that they are not too complicated, that we don't have to make equations… even if they are very important. But we can do science differently, through a scientific culture that does not necessarily conflict with scientific rigor. We have many well-trained partners who simplify science and make it accessible to everyone. This does not mean that it is not science and cannot be relied upon.

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O.P: Has science suffered during Covid?
FB: During the health crisis, many questions have arisen. Is science credible? Can we believe scientists? Many people were taking a stand. But this is not new either, because long before the health crisis, we could clearly see that there is a deficit… Just one example: we are talking about young girls who do not have very many who want to study science, but it is also something that is developing in a way that positive. But in the end we return to this idea and this question: Is scientific culture part of culture?

O.P: What place did scientific culture occupy in France?
FB: When we create projects and systems in our country, is it easy? Are there enough resources? In Auvergne, we are very lucky to have a lot of support, but this is not always and everywhere the case, and sometimes it is a bit difficult to follow up on projects and have the means to implement them.

Optional Protocol: Has science found its place in education?
FB: At school there are science programs anyway, but they are difficult. With Astu'sciences, we work in schools with teachers who are sometimes a bit helpless when it comes to teaching science. Sometimes there is a need for external support and speakers… We see that there is a deficit here as well, and recently, with all the changes in secondary schools, we have heard that there are some difficulties that young people face in pursuing scientific studies. I think there is a real challenge for society. There is still a gap that really needs to be filled by times like Exposciences.

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“We need to get things moving so little girls are interested in science.”

O.P: Is the question of gender still present in science?
FB: Yes, we should help break down gender stereotypes. I find that there is always an interest in science on the part of young girls and boys at school. This is present until middle school, and then, perhaps with adolescence and with somewhat false representations, it changes. So, we need to get things moving so that young girls are interested in science and can also get jobs. I think, for example, about the teaching profession that I come from. We can clearly see that there is a bit of a lack of interest…and we think that this will be difficult to teach. It is also not easy for young people in high school to tell themselves from the beginning that they want to become teachers. This often happens after a few years.

OP: The feminization of the environment is therefore an area to pursue…
We mobilize a lot of young girls. A prize for young researchers was recently held in Claremont. Many young women presented their research. Because it was public, there was a lot of excitement about the conclusion: in the end why is science still interesting?

O.P: So, it's important that the events are like Fairs Auvergne organized.
FP: Yes, of course. Important. The exhibitions are open to everyone, you can come as a family with your girls and boys, forgetting that only boys will show interest. I can attest that this is not true and that many women are interested in science.

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Fairs Auvergne 2024 : From May 29 to June 1. Polydome, Place du 1year in Clermont. Free entry: practical information by clicking here

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