Since 1992, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research organizes a yearly scientific mediation event, the Fête de la Science, to promote science to the general public. Employees of universities, high schools, libraries and related educational associations come together to present demonstrations, visits, discussions, conferenes – all in an attempt to bring science closer to the broad public and to allow laymen and science enthusiasts to get in close touch with scientists.
Between the 6th and 8th October 2018, scientists and doctoral students of Geosciences Montpellier organized a stand at this year’s Fête de la Science under the motto “It’s not only Superheroes who are able to move mountains!”. Experiments, demonstrations, posters, and many things to touch and play with demonstrated that continents do not float on molten rock, that even rocks are able to bend and that yes, the Earth is not flat. Children (and parents alike) could have a look at rocks and minerals through the microscope, form their own flour mountains, learn how heat and time influence deformation, discover that mountains have hidden roots, and see how colorful elastic deformation can be. Additionally, this was the perfect moment to ask those questions that have always bugged you.
While the weekend was open to the general public, Monday was reserved for pupils from the 6th to 2nd grade. In total, over 1000 persons and 109 pupils visited the exhibition and participated in our workshops. A huge thanks to the organizers and volunteers who made this possible: Françoise Boudier, Anne Delplanque, Sylvie Demouchy, Fanny Garel, Clément Garrocq, Lucan Mameri, Émilien Oliot, Jean-Francois Ritz, Manuel Thieme and Andrea Tommasi. Be sure to check out our next stand in Montpellier in fall 2019 or one of the many other events all over France.