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Press Release - 16 March 2007

DVD series produced to excite children about science and engineering

A series of DVDs created to excite school children about science and engineering so that they will consider them as career options will be launched officially soon.

Ten thousand DVDs in the Chaos and Pattern series will be sent out to schools round the country in the next few weeks.

The DVDs look at geology, mathematics, medical devices, physics, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering and each features pupils from five West Country schools.

The DVDs were written and produced by Dr Leo Aylen, the poet and writer-director, who was commissioned by the University of Bath using a £157,000 Partnerships for Public Awareness grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to promote science among schools.

The University’s departments of Mechanical Engineering, Psychology and Education worked together to ensure that the DVDs were pitched suitably for Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils and devised a way of getting feedback on what schools think of them. A pilot film was produced as part of this process, and three schools will be asked in-depth for their views on the series.

“These DVDs capture the excitement of engineering, science and mathematics and communicate this in an energetic and lively way for school children," said Professor Cliff Burrows, of the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, who has led the project.

“It is vital to get the message out to pupils that engineering, science and mathematics are not only very important but also interesting and fun too.”

Schools can request that copies of all five of the DVDs be sent, by contacting Professor Burrows.

The University has invited 300 guests, including school head teachers, to an official launch of the DVDs on Wednesday 21 March on its campus.

The DVDs’ specific topics are: Butterfly Light: Adventures in Photonics & Telecommunications; The Green Gene: Adventures in Diabetes Control; The Chaos Treasure Hunt: Adventures in Folded Rock; The Paddleworm Robot: Adventures in Biomimetics; and Cells & Scaffolds: Adventures in Tissue Engineering.

Those appearing in the DVDs include Professor Philip Russell, one of the pioneers of photonics, the science of light and communication, who headed the photonics team at Bath.

The schools involved are: Broadlands, Keynsham, near Bristol; Budehaven School, Cornwall; Sheldon School, Wiltshire; Luckington School, Wiltshire; and The Corsham School, Wiltshire. The programme makers were also helped by Frome College, Somerset, and John O' Gaunt, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Leo Aylen has co-written a Hollywood movie, Gods and Generals, starring Robert Duvall, and has been nominated for a BAFTA award.

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