National Science Week

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National Science Week refers to series of science-related events for the general public which are held in a specific countries during a designated week of the year. The aim of such science weeks is to engage and inspire people of all ages with science, engineering and technology.

Australia's National Science Week is held annually in August, funded through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. National Science Week welcomes an audience of over a million and hosts more than 1000 events across the nation. Science Week provides an opportunity for all Australians to participate in events and activities that showcase science and encourages younger people to consider continuing studies in science. Past participants have included polar explorer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis, NASA Astronaut Katherine Megan McArthur; environmentalist Tanya Ha; theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss; and palaeontologist Scott Sampson. Another key activity during National Science Week is the National Project, which is run in conjunction with ABC Australia. Past project have included the Big Sleep Survey in 2010 and the Aussie Star Hunt in 2010. Also in 2009 Cosmos Magazine launched a website called HELLO FROM EARTH which collected over 28,000 messages which were beamed to the first earth like planet candidate, Gliese 581d.

Britain's National Science Week was first held in 1994 and is now known as National Science & Engineering Week - it is one of the largest national celebrations of science. It is organised by the British Science Association and funded by BIS (UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills), the Welsh government, the Scottish government and Gatsby. It is supported by EngineeringUK. National Science & Engineering Week is a massive UK-wide grassroots celebration of science which saw 1.5-2 million people taking part in over 4000 events and activities throughout the UK in 2010, with a large number of people, public centers and organisations taking part in, and organising, a vast array of special events across the country. In 2013, National Science & Engineering Week takes place 15-24 March with the theme of 'Invention & Discovery'.

In India, Science Week culminates in National Science Day, which takes place each year on 28 February to commemorate C. V. Raman's discovery of the Raman Effect. Australia's National Science Week was first held in 1997, and traditionally takes place in August.

In the United States, the National Science & Technology Week was one of the National Science Foundation's main outreach efforts between 1985 and 1999, before the program was succeeded by Find Out Why, a year-long outreach effort focused on families, offering everyday science activities. The idea was revisited in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in collaboration with other government and scientific partners, with an "Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (ESTEME) Week."

Other national science weeks include the Norwegian Forskningsdagene ("Research Days"), Canada's National Science & Technology Week, the South African National Science Week, and China's National Science Week launched in May 2006. On an international level, the European Union has held union-wide science weeks between 2000 and 2006.

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