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Assimina Kontogeorgiou: Physics and Chemistry Teacher

Assimina Kontogeorgiou is a secondary school science teacher from Volos, Greece. Member of the Greek Physical Society, she often participates in seminars and training courses in Greece and other European countries. In this article, she is sharing her favourite online resources, which concern Bioethical Problems and Questions related to everyday life. They may help you to enrich your teaching material.

    • Bioethical Problems

Hellenic Centre for Biomedical Ethics 

HCBE, the only centre for bioethics in Greece, aims to become a centre of excellence by attracting young scientists and carrying out advanced and original research. Its responsibility to present each issue in the light of the Hellenic culture and Orthodox tradition makes its role unique and very critical.
This website features the latest news about bioethical issues, official documents, a list of upcoming events and conferences, recent bibliographies, journals and useful links.


Created by the Jérôme Lejeune Fondation, this site is focusing on up-to-date information and analysis of Bioethics.
This interactive portal studies and exposes all issues related to bioethics. It is divided into several sections:
- A monthly informative and analytical newsletter
- Press clippings gathering several news about bioethics from French newspapers
- Dossiers about cloning, embryonic research, euthanasia …
- Official texts and documentation (ethical committee reports and opinions)
- A Forum
- A Search engine by key words

         UNESCO: Global Ethics Observatory
Freely accessible online to all Member States and the general public, this observatory presents databases with worldwide coverage in bioethics and other areas of applied ethics in science and technology such as environmental ethics, science ethics, and technology ethics. Its objective is to become a crucial platform for supporting and developing ethics activities by assisting Member States and other interested parties to identify experts, establish ethics committees, construct informed policies in the area of ethics, and design ethics teaching curricula. Four databases are available from this site:

- Database 1: Who’s Who in Ethics
It offers information regarding ethics experts around the world.
- Database 2: Ethics Institutions
This database provides information on departments, institutes, centres, commissions, councils, committees, review boards, societies, associations, and other relevant entities in the area of ethics of science and technology.
- Database 3: Ethics Teaching Programmes
The Ethics Teaching Programmes database features descriptions of existing teaching programmes within the field of ethics of science and technology.
- Database 4: Ethics Related Legislation and Guidelines
This fourth database is a collection of examples and descriptions of ethics related legislation and guidelines introduced in some countries and institutions worldwide in order to normalize activities in the fields of science and technology.

    • Questions related to everyday life

      Ask the Experts

On the ‘Scientific American’ magazine website, you will find answers on “everyday life questions” about astronomy, biology, chemistry, computers, environment, geology, mathematics, medicine and physics. You can also send your questions that will be answered by an expert.

      Science Question of the Week
The Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA) is an organization of combined scientists and engineers dedicated to learning and sharing their knowledge of the Earth, solar system, and Universe. Its portal includes science questions.  Most of them are dealing with astronomy, environment or physics.

     Ask Dr. Universe

Are you curious? Would you like to get answers to questions you have always wondered about?
Through this website, you can access to university research and find answers to many questions regarding the universe. These questions can be addressed via this site, on subjects from global warming to neural networks, from Jane Austen to soil nematodes, or from cow belching to quasars.

    • Example: Why does salt melt ice?
      The websites answering the above question are presented here in Greek.

- Why does salt melt ice?

The question is answered on the “General Chemistry on-line” portal. An animation shows you the reaction when you change the temperature or you add salt.

- How can freezing point depression be explained in terms of free energies?

The above question is answered in terms of free energy by using the Gibbs Free Energy Equation. It is mentioned that ‘this is a bit above the general chemistry level. For a more accessible explanation of freezing point depression, general chemistry students should look at ‘why does salt melt ice?’

Melting Snow & Ice with Salt

On this site, the same question is answered. You will find a table with other materials used to melt ice, which is very interesting for our students. After that, we may ask them to answer the question: Why do we prefer to spread salt on icy sidewalks in the winter?

Why do we put salt on icy sidewalks in the winter? 

You can find on this portal the debate between two experts about the explanation of this phenomenon. John Margrave, a chemistry professor at Rice University, argued that salt dissolves in water as ions of sodium and chlorine, and these ions hydrate, or join to, the water molecules. This process gives off heat, which thaws ice. Chemical engineering professor Arthur Pelton from the University of Montreal provided a representative correction.

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