Robotic shows, live link-ups with NASA scientists, energy-generating dancing, murder mysteries to solve and real-time outdoor projections of the sun. These were just a few of the thousands of free activities that took place on 27 September at the 2013 Researchers’ Night – Europe’s largest science festival.
Designed to showcase what researchers do and why it matters, Researchers’ Night gives members of the public the opportunity to meet researchers and experience scientific research first-hand.
Thirty-three EU Member and neighboring countries participated in this year’s festival. From Dublin to Düsseldorf, Porto to Poznan, people could take part in experiments and interactive science shows, chat to researchers over a coffee as well as get special behind-the-scenes tours of museums and laboratories.
With many of the activities designed to bring research out of the laboratory, science spilled out into streets, parks, shopping centres and cafés in the 300 participating cities. In Croatia, researchers even did their own flash mob in the centre of Split and in Poland, participants broke the world record for the loudest collective scream.
A successful Researchers’ Night (ForskarFredag) was also held in Sweden. Hundreds of activities, ranging from science cafés and competitions to bus tours and workshops took place in 27 cities across the country, attracting 37,000 participants. Adults and children alike could enjoy a scientific magic show, try out a 3D printer, design a bus of the future, and even ‘borrow’ a researcher.
Swedish researchers also had their communication skills put to the test in the regional heats of the Researcher Grand Prix – a competition in which researchers are challenged to explain their research in an educational and inspiring way in just 3 minutes. Regional winners will go head to head in a national final to be held in Stockholm in December.
“Researchers’ Night is a great way for members of the public to see science in action – to learn what researchers actually do, how science affects our everyday lives and discover how exciting research actually is, “ said Lotta Tomasson of VA (Public & Science), that co-ordinates Researchers’ Night in Sweden.
“Once again, the success of this year’s event is down to the commitment of science centres, universities, museums and participating researchers to make science accessible and fun for everyone.”
For more information about the 2013 Researchers’ Night: