Let’s meet a researcher!

 

It’s Friday night!  Let’s go down town and meet a researcher! That is what the European Commission is hoping tens of thousands of people all over Europe will be saying this week. Researchers’ Night 2011 takes place on Friday, 23rd September in 320 cities and 32 countries across Europe.

The ambitious aim of competing for public attention with other traditional Friday night activities marks Researchers’ Night out from other science festivals. Encouraging people to be entertained by researchers and science instead of cinemas, theatres, bars and restaurants is not easy. But across Europe thousands of researchers look set to achieve it in style this year.

Some of this year’s innovations include an “intellectual fitness centre” at Polsen University in Austria, with activities for “body, mind and soul”.

In London the Natural History Museum opens its doors to night-time visitors for the second year running. The event, Jars, Bars and Life on Mars, includes Crime Scene Live, where a body is found in the museum garden, and Science Fight Club, where scientists battle it out over controversial scientific matters.

Several cities host events in town centres. In Hamburg, you can take a stroll down “Europa Passage” in the main shopping street and experience Climate Night, a mix of music, theatre and live science.

In Amsterdam, the Discovery Festival will continue all night until 4am. The aim of the festival is to enjoy the feeling of discovering new things – new science, new art, new music. Stay up late and enjoy science art in the body lab, micro-talks by researchers and live experiments with human guinea pigs.

In Latvia Researchers’ Night is linked to the International Year of Chemistry 2011 with activities and events across 6 cities. A particularly intriguing event is a visual light installation by artist Voldemar Johanson, which involves laser beams, and diffraction and refraction through different environments, including liquids.

There is of course no need to travel so far, as for the 7th year running Researchers’ Night events will be taking place across Sweden. Under the umbrella of ForskarFredag and coordinated by VA, 28 Swedish towns and cities will be putting on an exciting and varied programme of events. Two highlights include watching robots dancing in Örebro and learning about vampires in Skellefteå.

Researchers’ Night is a Europe-wide event funded by the European Commission. It takes place annually on the fourth Friday in September. The aim is to bring together the public and research in relaxed and entertaining ways. Read more about it on the Commission webpage, and browse the full programme of events.

Esther Crooks