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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Children asked to jump for science
girls jumping in a playground
Hundreds of thousands of pounding feet will launch Science Year
Schools across Britain are being asked to let children jump together in their playgrounds to help kick start Science Year.

At 11am on 7 September, children will jump for a minute in a nation-wide experiment.

Scientists want to measure the impact on machines used to monitor earthquakes.

And the event will go into the record books as the "greatest simultaneous jump in history".

The jump is being held to launch Science Year, a government-funded campaign which aims to promote science among pupils aged between 10 and 19.

Record books

It will be recorded by the Guinness Book of Records.

David Hawksett of the Guinness Book of Records said he thought the jump would get Science Year off to a good start.

"This is what we call a precedent-setter," he said.

"We hope this is a challenge that will be taken up around the world but we suspect that possibly the UK will hold this one for some time."

If the sound of hundreds of thousands of pounding feet makes some people think an earthquake is taking place, it will not be the first time.

In 1995, Londoners contacted Scotland Yard saying they had felt an earthquake tremor.

But Alice Walker, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey said the band Oasis had been to blame.

Science Year Launch Events
London - Science Museum
Birmingham - Think Tank, Millennium Point
Cornwall - Eden Project
Newcastle - Life Interactive World
Glasgow - Glasgow University and Glasgow Science Centre
Belfast - W5 at Odyssey Centre
Cardiff - Techniquest
Bristol - Explore @ Bristol
"Investigations revealed that 20,000 rock fans had been jumping up and down to Oasis in Earl's Court and tremors were being reported from up to one mile away.

"It will be interesting to see if hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of school students can beat Oasis."

The experiment - which is being billed as The Giant Jump - will be the first official event of Science Year.

As well as the jump in schools, other jumps and launch events will be held across Britain.

Science Year is being run by a group called Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) which was set up by an Act of Parliament to promote innovation in science, technology and the arts.

So far 3,500 schools are said to have signed up to take part in the Giant Jump.

To take part, schools have to register at www.scienceyear.com.

See also:

28 Jun 00 | Education
2001 'year of science'
29 Dec 00 | Sci/Tech
Extending our reach in 2000
05 Mar 01 | Education
Firing pupils' interest in science
19 Apr 00 | Education
Cash boost for school science labs
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