Researchers’ Night is an annual science festival held in research and scientific institutions since 2007. And today we are going for a visit. Let’s begin!
European Researchers’ Night
Researchers’ Night is an annual science festival held in research and scientific institutions across Europe. The European Commission supports all these events as a part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, to boost the careers of researchers. Here are several quotes from their site:
Any event that boosts public awareness of the positive role of research in society, especially among young people, can be supported. European Union-funded researchers should interact as much as possible with visitors and show how their research has an impact on people’s daily lives.
Every year, hundreds of events take place simultaneously in Europe and neighboring countries.
In 2018, the events will take place on Friday, 28 September, in over 340 cities across Europe and in neighboring countries.
Researchers’ Night In Israel
Researchers’ Night is held in Israel since 2007, in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Space. In this event, scientific research institutions and science museums open their doors to the general public. The happening takes place during one evening, and it is free of charge. The institutions offer meetings with scientists, laboratory tours, lectures, performances, demonstrations, and workshops. The purpose of the event is to enable the general public to become familiar with the activities conducted in the institutions and to make science accessible. Every year, nearly 60,000 people participate in activities in 14 centers around the country.
Researchers’ Night 2018
Though I heard about Researchers’ Night many times before, I never participated in such an event. That is until now.
This year the Researchers’ Night took place on 6 of September and one of the reasons we decided to go this year was my daughter’s age. She is already seven years old and can understand many things. Nonetheless, I saw many younger children there, but not sure how much a toddler or a preschooler will understand. But you might visit not to learn something new, but to teach kids to explore and enjoy science.
We decided to visit the 2018 Researchers’ Night, that was held under “70 Years of Israeli Innovation” slogan, in Tel Aviv University. The main reason we chose Tel Aviv University is due to my familiarity with the place, as I studied for six years there.
Map of the area:
Map Of The Event
As you can see from the event’s map, there were many science stands and several stages. Most of them are located around the Schreiber square, which is the biggest one.
Finding parking near Tel Aviv University was never easy. And since I finished my graduate studies, it only got worse. We tried our luck but did not find anything on Klausner street. So we left our car at a parking lot near The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. There are plenty of paid parking places, and the parking for the whole evening can cost around 20 NIS. But since the event is free, this still makes it one of the cheaper attractions.
Victor And Adrea Carter Garden
We started our visit at Victor and Adrea Carter Garden (also called Palms garden). We planned to visit the stands for an hour and then watch the main show, that started at 18:30.
We started at a stand with an infrared camera. An infrared camera detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, in this case to a video on the monitor in front of us. And as you can see, the guide is holding a container with ice water. As you put your hand into the bucket or put some ice on parts of your body, you can see that those parts are changing color. And as you remove the ice, and the temperature of the affected area starts to rise, the color shifts to the brighter tones.
At the nearby booth, we saw a girl volunteered for an EEG test.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record the electrical activity of the brain. It is typically noninvasive, with the electrodes placed along the scalp, although invasive electrodes are sometimes used such as in electrocorticography. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current within the neurons of the brain. In clinical contexts, EEG refers to the recording of the brain’s spontaneous electrical activity over a period, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp.
EEG is most often used to diagnose epilepsy, which causes abnormalities in EEG readings. It is also used to diagnose sleep disorders, depth of anesthesia, coma, encephalopathies, and brain death. EEG used to be a first-line method of diagnosis for tumors, stroke and other focal brain disorders, but this use has decreased with the advent of high-resolution anatomical imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT).
The girl was guided to relax and meditate or solve problems, and you could see the electrical brain activity spike or calm down accordingly.
3D printing is a hot topic in the science community in the last years. And of course, several 3D printers created toys for children.
There were other stands as well, but we passed through them quickly. For example, you could watch the sun through a telescope. But we decided to skip it due to the long line.
Physics Tricks In The Lab
The next complex of stands we visited called “Physics Tricks In The Lab.”
The first Physics trick demonstrated the work of different gyroscopes. For example, when this small gyroscope was spun fast, it could stay both on the rope and even on the pencil tip.
Here is another example using bicycle Gyro wheel.
And this is a demonstration of the Hoberman sphere.
The Hoberman sphere was rotated, and you could see how the sphere’s size influenced the rotation speed. The bigger it became, the slower it turned (and vice versa).
And in this arena, children could program the robots.
But we did not stay there for long since it was almost 18:30 and we headed to see the main show.
The Main Show
The main show consisted of different numbers, that were a mix between acrobatics shows and short science presentations.
After each acrobatics number, there was a short presentation by one of Tel Aviv university’s staff members. Here, for example, we were told that they hid a seismograph somewhere near the stage. And they asked the audience to stand up and jump. When we leaped, we saw the measurements on this TV.
In this demonstration, we saw that different Coca-Cola cans would float or sink depending on the amount of sugar in the can and in the water. We saw something similar at Sugar Workshop in Bloomfield Science Museum.
The acrobat performers were on a high level, and the shows were impressive.
Can you define what a table is? As this philosophy professor showed us, it is a more complicated task then you might expect.
Did you know that fireworks work underwater? Though regular fire needs oxygen, gunpowder does not require an external oxygen source. Hence, it continues to burn underwater.
The main show lasted for one hour. And after it ended, we remained on our places, since Tel-Aviv University’s band took the stage.
The concert was performed not by the whole band, but only by the wind instruments.
I am not a music specialist. I never played any instrument, and I have no musical hearing. Therefore, it is hard for me to give a review. Thus, I will only say that I was not impressed.
It was getting late, and since Friday is a school day, we had to leave in the middle of the concert.
We enjoyed the Researchers’ Night event. And if you love science, then do not miss this event. My only regret is that we did not have a chance to visit many of the stands. In our case, two and a half hours was not enough.
It takes place annually on one of the Thursdays between Rosh ha Shana and Yom Kippur. That makes it around September. Each year they are running ads and news items on the radio. And this is how I usually hear about this event. So you can either listen to the radio, follow relevant channels on social media or contact one of the universities directly.
Have you ever been to Researchers’ Night? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!