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A child's eye view of physicists

Image of the Week - A child's-eye view of physicists

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Images courtesy CERN, Draw Me a Physicist.

Can you draw me a physicist?

That was the challenge that CERN layed down to some neighboring grade schools.

Twenty classes from schools in nearby Meyrin, Vernier, Satigny and the Pays de Gex participated in the program, in which children aged from nine to eleven were asked to draw a picture of a physicist and write a dictionary-type definition. To make things more interesting, the children were asked to do two sets of drawings - one before interviewing physicists, and one after. In our slideshow above, the odd-numbered pictures show all the "before" images, and the even-numbered pictures show all the "after" images. Pictures #1 and #2 are both by the same child; pictures #3 and #4 are both by the next child . . .

Over 400 children took part; the resulting 160 selected drawings and definitions can be seen at the exhibition on the second floor of the Globe of Science and Innovation, which opened on 12 June and runs until 23 June. All of the drawings are displayed on the project's "Draw me a physicist" website and also projected on the Globe's giant screen.

"The picture of the world of research that we get from the drawings and definitions is full of surprises," commented Corinne Pralavorio of CERN's Communication Group. "It's a mirror, giving us a compelling glimpse into how scientists are perceived."

It's also interesting to see how children in Europe perceive scientists, when compared to a predecessor project called "Who's the Scientist?" run by Fermilab in 1999, in which American seventh-graders (11- and 12-year-olds) drew scientists before and after a visit to their facility (see below).

-Dan Drollette, iSGTW

Click on image above to see large version, with comments. More images from Fermilab's "Who's the Scientist" are available on the website. Image above and on front page courtesy Fermilab

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