“Los Jueves de la Ciencia” / “On Thursday of Science”
Centro Asociado of the UNED in Guadalajara
Clarity of purpose
Conference Series and activities, on an outrearch and participatory environment to Science and Technology. The cycle began in 2007, coinciding with the commemoration of Year of Science in Spain, and this year celebrates its 5th edition.
The overall objectives of the cycle are:
- To publicize the science and technology to all general public.
- Making science and technology are seen as real, helpful, approachable and reachable.
- Encourage vocations researchers.
- Provide a forum for current issues of general interest in the field of Science and Technology (power generation, bioethics, equal opportunities in science, …).
To achieve these objectives we work on several lines:
-Multiple activities to try to cover the widest range of interest (at the present time are lectures, visits and workshops).
-Subjects varied in all activities with catchy titles that arouse curiosity:
• Lectures: "The chemistry of everyday life", "The scientific photography or the art of capturing the invisible", "Women and Science: The road to equality", "Fraud in Science" and "Physical activity, sports and relationship with the Science and Technology ", for a total of 30.
• Visits: "Research Unit, University Hospital of Guadalajara", "Yebes Astronomical Center" and "Beekeeping Marchamalo Center", for a total of five.
• Workshops: "Applications in Matlab for Neuroscience", "Practical use of Google tools", "Language Science and research" and "The magic of the airwaves: build your own radio."
-Lectures, visits and workshops are free.
-Speakers, generally recognized international or national, with experience in outreach.
-Promotion of proactivity in the audience: visits and highly participatory workshops and conferences with question time following the presentation of the speaker.
-Mail to the public for suggestions, propose topics for future issues, subscribe to the cycle request to be informed each year, ...
-Great advertising cycle: among students to the Centre, in the magazine of cultural outreach of the City, in the schools and other educational institutions and local and provincial, local media (newspapers, radio and television), University of Alcalá, etc..
-Concentrate the cycle (approximately March) to facilitate planning and attendance. Also in the title of the season included the word "Thursday" to help remember the day of the week in which conferences are held.
-Adjustment attendance. In the last two editions have been used with greater capacity rooms (120 persons or more) as the public interest has increased with successive editions and the room used the first year was many times smaller.
Impact. Reporting and evaluation of the impact of the initiative
Each edition has been measured attendance at conferences by the number that was given to the entry for the drawing of a book. Attendance in recent years has generally been growing in the various editions, as more and more people learned of their existence and, after attending a conference, it is quite common to attend another the same year or in cycles later. The number of attendants has depended in particular on the theme of the conference (although in some cases have affected other factors as proximity to a holiday, weather, etc..). The minimum and maximum assistance were 25 and 135.
With regard to assistance for visits and workshops, which require registration to be the most limited spaces in general quota has been covered at all times and there have been waiting lists if there was a cancellation.
To perform an evaluation in the first edition in order to participate in the draw of the book attendees completed a questionnaire (to promote and facilitate its filling were presented with a pen-drive being one of the following results:
-The gender distribution was almost equal, with a very slight further assistance by men (50'8%).
-The average age of attendees was 42'2 years, with the youngest of attendees 11 years and the largest 72.
-The level of education of the participants are divided as follows:
• School: 7.31.
• High School: 26.83
• University: 52.75
• PhD / graduate: 8.23
• No answer: 4.88
-Attendance quantitative first edition was 42 people per conference, the public valuation of the speakers was on average 8 out of 10.
As a subjective assessment, people interested in the Center for the cycle even before being announced and the coverage that the media have been taking place over the years.
The combination of several personality characteristics endow this cycle, including:
-Web support, including:
• Calendar of conferences and activities and useful information, including frequently asked questions (FAQ) and links.
• Presentation of each conference: Curriculum rapporteur's summary of the conference and recommended readings.
• Material that voluntarily contributed by the speaker after the lecture or activity (presentation, videos, programs, etc..).
-Inclusion of a conference in a foreign language (English, from the 3rd edition).
-After each conference, win a book on the subject of the same among the attendees.
-Follow-up to conferences: visits, workshops for adults (3rd edition) and workshops for children (from the 5 th edition).
-Each year cycle is associated with a national or international commemoration (eg, 2011 Chemistry, 2012 Turing) and a conference or activity devoted to it.
-Innovation: All editions are looking for new themes and values the inclusion of other complementary activities, reinventing the cycle each year to give it freshness, renewed interest among those who attended past editions and attract new audiences.
Sustainability is confirmed to be the fifth edition and we are meeting the stated success factors and even two years ago, there was a change of coordinator and that success continues to rise cycle.
“Los jueves de la ciencia” is simple to replicate, in whole or in part, provided they take into account the following critical success factors:
-Provide adequate facilities (location, room capacity, basic multimedia,…).
-Previous experience in organizing conferences and other activities.
-Choosing an appropriate coordinator.
-Explicit support of the Management and staff of the center where activities are carried out.
-Publicize the event properly.
The Web of the cycle (http://www.uned.es/ca-guadalajara/jueves.ciencia.12.htm) is a good place to get information on the structure, documentation, themes, speakers, ...