Popularization of Science
For many years the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology has been involved in various public events aiming at popularization of science, such as the Science Festival and the Science Picnic of the Polish Radio and the Copernicus Science Centre. Both of these events have greatly contributed to the general public’s appreciation of science and scientists. In 1998 the Polish Foundation for Science Advancement (PFUN) and the Society for Science Promotion and Knowledge Dissemination have awarded the organizers of the Science Picnic and the Science Festival with a joint Professor Hugon Steinhaus Prize for holding outstanding science promoting events.
The staff of the Nencki Institute has been involved in organization of workshops for teachers with Centre for Innovative Bioscience Education and seminars for the Polish Children’s Fund recipients. Meetings with smaller groups of students have been arranged for those interested in research activity of individual scientific teams.
dr Anna Wasik, The Coordinator.
The Warsaw Science Festival
The idea of the Warsaw Science Festival originated in September of 1996. Originally 72 meetings were held within 2 days at 44 research institutes and organizations. In the subsequent years the project has developed significantly. At present the Festival includes more than 500 meetings and 200 seminars held within 10 days. Festival activities are proposed by over 100 research institutes. The Nencki Institute has been involved in the Festival from the very beginning. Some events during the Festival remain invariable from year to year:
- Clubs and discussions – afternoon open lectures;
- Weekend meetings – lab presentations for a limited number of participants. These are delivered in the format of presentation only or presentation accompanied by lecture;
- Festival Lessons are held on weekdays mainly for primary or secondary school students. They are usually composed of a richly illustrated lecture with hands on experiments
In 2009 a new lecture series for high school graduates has been added to the Festival programme under the so called “Youth Club”.
In 2006 the Researcher’s night was organized during the Festival for the first time. It was co-funded by the European Union. At the same, scientists throughout European meet with the public to explain their work and describe their environment, trying to debunk a stereotype of a scientist being a “weirdo locked in the ivory tower” and having no personal life, family or hobby. Scientists may differ in terms of personalities, interests and dreams but they are definitely humans sharing a passion for learning.
PhD students from the Nencki Institute organized a happening called PhD students are human beings too. Participants had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the ‘science museum’ exhibits, practice parachute folding, visit the cooking area and listen to a presentation on extreme sports. All these activities were accompanied by music played on drums and guitars. At the same time various scientific lectures and meetings took place.