Researchers´ Night in Madrid 2011 is a project which involves the main Universities and Research Centres in the Region as well as two National Scientific Associations within the framework of the European Researchers´ Night. University of Alcalá submit to European Competition for Best Innovations in University Outreach and Public Engagement the activities specially programmed for this project, which aims at bringing the researchers
The chemistry community of the University of Turin (Italy) has seen an opportunity in the International Year of Chemistry to try an experiment in science communication specifically focused on chemical sciences.
Chemistry fills quite a negative place in the collective imagination as it is often associated with environmental damages, pollution, toxic substances, etc. Common people rarely realize that chemistry plays a role in every aspect of daily life, somehow or other, and that a life without chemistry would not be possible.
In 1960 Theodore Maiman succeeded in the first experimental demonstration of the laser. Fifty years later it is difficult to figure out a scientific discipline that does not involve a laser or a day without any laser-based devices. The aim of this project was the development of an outreach book about lasers to increase the interest for science among students and the general public. Two thousand copies were distributed in universities, schools and libraries and now it is available to be freely downloaded.
In Spain, it is well known that secondary school students’ motivation to study Science (especially Mathematics) is not very strong. This is a common problem to almost all Europe. Spanish and Andalusian governments have general policies on education to promote the study of Science. They are necessary and convenient. However, we think that local actions in the students’ environment, which supplement these policies, are also needed.
Our hands-on activity aims to convey that cutting-edge science is often hidden in plain sight, and accessible to people of all age groups and backgrounds. This is exemplified nowhere better than with Graphene, the world’s first two dimensional material, which was considered not to exist in a stable form. Graphene was first isolated only in 2004 by Manchester scientists Geim and Novoselov who were awarded the Nobel Prize for their efforts. Our activity allows just about anyone to make their own graphene with nothing more than a piece of graphite (pencil lead) and sticky tape like ‘Scotch’ tape. Indeed, this is identical to the way graphene was first isolated and now produced in high-tech clean room laboratories around the world. With this activity, we endeavour to allow people of all walks of life to experience the latest advances in science, and we reward their efforts with a chocolate Nobel medal!