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Review: Berlin Science Week 2017

20.12.2017 | Overcoming Reservations Against Science At The Berlin Science Week

It cannot be denied how important science is for the world we live in. However, it is not always sufficiently appreciated in public. This is about to change among other things due to the Berlin Science Week. Especially nowadays, the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, sees the urgent need for such an event: “In times when some sections of society are expressing more and more scepticism towards science and are deliberately discrediting scientific findings in order to pursue different political aims, such events as the Berlin Science Week are particularly important.”

Interact between scientists and a non-scientific audience

To this end, it is not only important for experts and scientists to interact with each other, but also to include lay people and a non-scientific audience, according to Professor Jürgen Mlynek, coordinator of the Berlin Science Week: “This bundling of events is supposed to create synergies between the participating institutions and to promote the exchange with a broader public.”

Communication between science and the general public needs to improve – a process which continues to pose an enormous challenge. A possible solution might be to simplify complex issues and make questions and research findings also comprehensible to lay people, as suggested by Professor Mazza of the Institute for Mechanical Science at ETH Zurich. Furthermore, it would be helpful to illustrate the useful insights and solutions science can offer for our everyday problems.

 

Interactive pop-up exhibition on quantum mechanics

 

The Canadian University at Waterloo and the Paul Drude Institute for Solid State Electronics (PDI) demonstrate how such a simplification might look like. An interactive pop-up exhibition on quantum mechanics gave the visitors an introduction to this complex topic in a comprehensible manner. Furthermore, the aim of this presentation was to make the audience understand the impact this scientific branch may have on future technologies.

Zurich Heart - a project about an artificial heart

Zurich Heart was another project that may be interesting for many people. Within the context of this project, about 20 research groups at ETH Zurich and the German Heart Institute are currently working to develop a fully functional artificial heart that can be fully implanted into the patient. Thus, the aim of this research project is to fight against the rising number of people with severe cardiac failure.

Introducing kids to science

These are just two of the many fascinating exhibitions, projects and events offered to a large audience in the context of the Berlin Science Week. Another important aspect in this context was the topic of education. To this end, the Little Scientists’ House (Haus der kleinen Forscher) foundation organized a symposium, on the occasion of which 100 scientists from various countries took part and discussed about the introduction of children to scientific topics already in early childhood. The aim of this initiative is to ensure that future generations will overcome their initial reservations towards this occupation and branch of education and will benefit from them in many ways. 

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