Educational Trips to Explore the Art and Science of Paris

As the largest city and capital of France, Paris is just a short hop away from the United Kingdom and makes for an exceptional place to go on educational trips for a taste of the art and science that makes the city what it is today. With a history that dates back over two thousand years, exploring Paris and its surrounds can seem to be a monumental task for educational trips to the city, but it is easy to manage the wealth of information and culture if you focus on a few key sights or topics.
While in Paris, it is hard to ignore the arts. World famous museums, such as the Louvre, are around every corner, but if you have a little time and want to get a more in depth look into a museum, consider a visit to the Musée d'Orsay. Don't neglect the sciences, either, which have a background that can be explored when you visit the Cité des Sciences.
The Musée d'Orsay
Situated on the left bank of the Seine, the Musée d'Orsay literally cannot be missed. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, which is a stunning Beaux-Arts train station that was built between 1989 and 1900. The building itself was completed just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900 and the station remained one of the most important stations in France until 1939 when the short platforms became an issue for the longer trains. During the 1900s, the station was used as a film location, by auctioneers, and as a theatre company before the building was saved from destruction and opened as a museum in 1986. Educational trips here will reveal its history and heritage: it was designed to bridge a perceived gap between the collections of the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art. The resulting museum is light and airy and known for its extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works of art with names that everyone will recognise - such as Monet, Degas, Manet, and Van Gogh, just to mention a few.
Cité des Sciences
Officially known as the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, this museum is must-visit destination for science focused educational trips to Paris. Located in the outskirts, the Cité des Sciences is also the largest science museum in Europe. The museum opened in 1986, and is recognisable for its large bioclimatic façade of glass. Inside the museum features a planetarium, IMAX theatre, a submarine and a range of leisure activities that combine the history of science and modern scientific issues with entertainment and activities. Here students focused on maths, space, environmental issues and even the human body can enjoy the exhibits before heading out to explore the parklands around the building.
Angela Bowden works for EST (Equity School Travel), the UK's largest educational travel company, providing educational trips for secondary schools, primary schools and colleges. Educational trips with EST can encompass a wide range of learning and more in worldwide destinations.

Science in the Dark Ages

The period of history known as THE DARK AGES spans from 475 AD (fall of the Roman Empire) to 1200 AD when Universities started forming.
During this time, material conditions deteriorated so much that people had to concentrate all their efforts on daily survival and science became stagnant.
However, there are 2 common misunderstandings related to this period:
1. Everybody thought again that the Earth was flat or had the shape of a chest, and knowledge of a spherical Earth was lost completely, only to be recovered when Columbus discovered America. But this is not true. The idea of a round Earth was never lost among scholars and among the cult circles, small as they became in the darkest of the dark ages.
2. Science and scientists were persecuted by law. This is also untrue. The claim has to do with the Theodosian and Justinian code, from 400 and 500 AD respectively. But the articles in these "codexes" or laws banished superstition and divination, activities which were known at the time by the Latin name "MATHEMATICA", because of the complicated calculations astrologers had to make in order to get their horoscopes.
On the other hand, the social situation had deteriorated to such an extent that Roman Empire ruling class had a strong will to get rid of threats of war from outside by the barbarians, but also from division in the inside because of the abundant heresies (Nestorians, Arians, Priscillians... ). This situation caused pagan science to suffer consequences similar to persecution: academies and schools were closed, scholars were banished, informers thrived; but there was never a formally written law against science.
Science during the dark ages was stagnant: annotators, commentators, translators, no advance. Preserving and transmitting knowledge in monasteries and a few reduced circles. Material conditions didn't allow for more.
Ignorance extended widely among society, especially the popular classes, but it doesn't follow from that, that everybody thought the Earth was flat again.
Science wasn't persecuted by law, but material conditions and human weaknesses created an atmosphere that crushed pagan science.
Initial rejection of pagan science for the reasons explained, turned later into acceptance by the very church fathers, from Augustine of Hippo (354-430AD) who concentrated in resolving contradiction conflicts with scripture in a process that lasted until the end of the period, when Aristotle (V century BC) was finally admitted into Christian lore, thanks to the works of Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).

Russian Scientists Begin Study of Mammoth Remains

"Mammoth of the Century" in Moscow for Study

The fossilised remains of a teenage Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) has begun to be examined by Moscow-based scientists after it was transported from the remote Siberian location where the fossilised carcase was discovered. The late Summer months of August and early September are when a number of Woolly Mammoth and other Ice Age fossils are found in the northernmost parts of Russia. The spring and summer rains coupled with the seasonally high temperatures permit parts of the permafrost to be thawed out or washed away by the erosion of river banks and this can expose the preserved remains of a number of long-dead prehistoric animals.

Some of the Woolly Mammoths have soft tissue preserved and with the publishing of the recent, controversial research into the half-life of DNA, talk inevitably turns to the possibility of obtaining genetic material from these extinct animals with the long-term aim of producing clones and resurrecting a species.

The Mammuthus genus (Mammoths) were members of the Elephantidae sub-family, taxonomically classified with extant elephants. They were highly successful herbivores that lived across northern latitudes (Asia, Europe and North America) as well as Africa. A number of species have been identified including the famous Woolly Mammoth (M. primigenius) and the larger species, associated with milder climates the Columbian Mammoth (M. columbi).

Northern Siberian Discovery

The latest Woolly Mammoth fossil to emerge from the permafrost of northern Siberia was found by a young boy called Yevgeny Salinder, whilst he was walking along the banks of the Yenisei river about six weeks ago. Mammoth fossils including tusks had been found in this area before, but it was not the sight of an over-sized, curved tusk that indicated to Yevgeny that he had found the remains of a Woolly Mammoth, but rather the smell the carcase gave off. As the long-dead animal's corpse is exposed to the air with the erosion of the matrix in which the fossil was buried, so the flesh begins to decompose once again. It was the smell of putrefying flesh that alerted eleven-year old Yevgeny that a Mammoth's body was lying nearby.

Exposed Hine Quarters of Ice Age Beast

The back quarters and the legs were the parts of the carcase first exposed, local officials were contacted and the International Mammoth Committee alerted so that an excavation could begin to remove the Woolly Mammoth. Scientists rushed out to the remote location and began the work of digging out the Mammoth remains. Alexei Tikhonov, of the St. Petersburg-based Zoological Museum, and an expert of Siberian Mammoths was one of the scientists dispatched to excavate the carcase. He has described this particular specimen as the best preserved and most complete Mammoth found in Russia for more than 100 years.

"Mammoth Discovery of the Century"

Nicknamed the "Mammoth of the Century", the specimen is that of a teenage Woolly Mammoth, a male that died around 30,000 years ago. Although the elephant's trunk has rotted away, scientists have found samples of fur intact and one 1.5 metre long tusk, along with the remains of an eye and a small, Mammoth ear. Mammoths had much smaller ear flaps than their modern elephant counterparts. Small ears would not have lost as much heat as a large ear flap and there was no need for large ears to help cool the animal down, temperatures in this part of the world during the Pleistocene Epoch when this animal lived, would have rarely climbed into double figures (Celsius).

Excavation Begins

With the aid of local volunteers the Mammoth fossil was carefully excavated out of its Siberian grave, the process taking more than a week to complete. Once the remains had been stabilised (kept at a constant, low temperature to preserve soft tissue), the fossil has been transported back to Moscow for detailed study. Parts of the specimen will also be examined by Russian palaeontologists in St. Petersburg.

Weighing over 1,000 kilogrammes; the carefully packed and preserved ancient elephant may provide researchers with Mammoth DNA. Viable genetic material could still be preserved deep in the large teeth of the animal or within the larger limb bones such as the femur. With a team of international scientists recently concluding that DNA might be able to survive for much longer than previously thought in the fossil record (based on evidence from New Zealand Moa fossils), there is a strong possibility that this 30,000 year old carcase might yield genetic material.

Russian scientists are keen to start work, although they will have to be properly protected and wear face masks to ensure exposure to ancient bacteria and other pathogens does not occur. The skeleton is virtually intact and the body cavity has not been punctured which may have permitted the gut and the other internal organs such as the heart to be preserved in tact.

Named after the Boy who Found the Fossil

Like many Woolly Mammoth fossil finds, this teenage Mammoth that was probably around sixteen years of age when it died, has been given a name as well as a formal scientific classification code. The Mammoth has been named Zhenya, a pet name used by the friends and family of Yevgeny, the boy who sniffed out the fossil discovery in the first place.

Everything Dinosaur is a company run by parents, teachers and real Mammoth experts. It specialises in developing educational dinosaur toys, models, clothing and games and strives to help young people learn more about science through their fascination with prehistoric animals. Many of the items featured on the Everything Dinosaur website Everything Dinosaur have been designed and tested by the teachers and real dinosaur experts in the company.

Our aim is to help young people learn more about Earth sciences through their fascination with dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. With something like 900 products on line including dinosaur party supplies, Everything Dinosaur has built up a strong reputation assisting parents, guardians and fellow teachers, helping young people to learn more about science through creative play.