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The University of Alicante holds the European Researchers' Night for the first time

Next 28 September, teachers and students will come to the UA to enjoy a programme of popular science activities: experiments, a geological route, astronomical observation and robotics and astronomy workshops

 

Cartel_NIT_INVESTIGACIO_casAlicante. Tuesday 18 September 2018

For the first time, the University of Alicante campus hosts the European Researchers' Night and joins more than 250 cities across 32 European countries taking part in the event. Organised by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer and the Institutional Relations Unit, the European Researchers’ Night will take place on the San Vicente del Raspeig campus next Friday 28 September, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Would you like to be in a soap bubble, create a sky map in an autumn night, learn how an artificial lung works, discover dinosaur footprints or how people work at an archaeological excavation, learn how earthquakes work and why they happen, discover the healing properties of mushrooms, or give instructions to your own Lego-block robot? These are some of the activities proposed by the University of Alicante for the European Researchers’ Night.

“Specifically, approximately 180 University of Alicante students and researchers take part in this celebration of science, open to everybody and featuring five simultaneous activities: science experiments in front of the Main Library; an on-campus geological route; an astronomical observation next to the University Council and Administration Services building; and robotics and astronomy workshops in several lecture rooms,” UA Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer Amparo Navarro explained at a press conference.

“People only love what they know,” Navarro says, “which is why we intend to explain the various aspects of science and popular science using an entertaining, understandable and funny language that helps people nurture their talent and discover what they would like to become. Innovative, proactive and eminently practical teaching methodologies will be employed, allowing participants to become scientists for a day. We are aware that science must go beyond laboratories and reach out to society,” the UA Vice President for Research & Knowledge Transfer pointed out.

 

Activities

From 5 to 9 p.m. (free admission), behind the University Council and Administration Services building and the Control Tower, “La UA per la ciència” [The UA for science] will offer chemistry, physics, mathematics and biology experiments to highlight the great importance of science and its benefits to society. At several booths participants, regardless of their age, will conduct their own experiments supervised by scientists from over 10 departments of the UA Faculty of Science. This activity is coordinated by Department of Applied Physics professor Isabel Abril, equally responsible for the popular science project “El Pati de la Ciència”.

Also from 5 to 9 p.m., participants will enjoy “Geología para tod@s”, [Geology for all], a tour around the UA’s geology labs and on-campus outdoor areas such as the Duckling Park and the Rock Garden. Throughout the tour, several workshops on fossils, minerals, earthquakes or underground waters, among other topics, will be offered by the Geolodía Alicante team. Travel millions of years back in geological time in the company of UA scientists! The activity is coordinated by Earth and Environmental Sciences professor Pedro Alfaro (also in charge of Geolodía Alicante) and 1,000 places are available. Previous registration is required. Meeting point for participants: Faculty of Science 2.

From 5 to 8 p.m., in the University Council and Administration Services building’s multimedia room, 20 girls and boys, from 12 to 17 years old, will take part in a robotics workshop (previous registration required). In the workshop, they will have to design and program robots in teams using LEGO Mindstorms educational kits. After a series of rounds, there will be a small competition where the robots will have to follow a route and find objects. This activity is coordinated by Department of IT and Computing lecturer Francisco Pujol, who is also UA coordinator for the European project Eurobotique, aimed at encouraging female students to undertake technological studies in secondary and higher education.

Another workshop is the innovative “Astropeques_UA”, targeted at families, to learn the basics of astronomy and its links to other disciplines. Participants, between 6 and 12 years old (they must be accompanied by a relative), will make a sky map, understand cognitive mock-ups, recognise the solar system, the colours of stars, artificial satellites, etc. At the end of this activity, aquatic fireworks will be launched. The workshop will take place in lecture room A2/0C04, lecture building 2, in two sessions, from 5 to 7 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. It will be coordinated by Enrique Aparicio, lecturer at the Department of Graphic Expression, Design and Projects and president and founder of the UA astronomy association “Astroingeo”. Places are limited to 30 children per session accompanied by a relative. Previous registration is thus required.

Finally, “Noche de estrellas”, [Starry night], from 8.30 p.m. to 1 a.m., proposes an astronomical observation between the University Council and Administration Services building and the Control Tower. Also coordinated by Enrique Aparicio, in this activity there will be several telescopes controlled and handled by specialists, making astronomy accessible to all. It will be possible to observe a variety of sky objects, such as stars, double stars, planets, the Moon, galaxy clusters, nebulae, etc., while experts explain aspects of the autumn sky, like how the summer triangle disappears and the winter triangle appears, using 2D and 3D models, videos and explanatory posters. Participants can bring their own observation equipment if they want to.

More information on each activity and registration forms for the geological route and the astronomy and robotics workshops at https://web.ua.es/es/uadivulga/

 

Key facts

The European Researchers’ Night is an entertaining and exciting popular science activity targeted at the population of the Alicante province. As it also aims to highlight the work of women in science, many female students and teachers will take part. In fact, the robotics workshop will be delivered exclusively by women, while gender parity will be achieved in the number of students: 10 girls and 10 boys.

“We are aware that women are a minority in technological studies, engineering, physics or mathematics. To bridge the gender gap, education from a young age should involve games, experiments and science activities to spark curiosity about these disciplines, banish gender roles and encourage future women scientists to pursue careers in science,” Amparo Navarro highlights.

All activities are targeted at all kinds of audiences, especially girls and boys accompanied by relatives, secondary and higher secondary education students, and undergraduates starting their studies at the University of Alicante.

 

Background

The Valencia Region Government, through the Regional Department of Education, Research, Culture and Sports, has promoted the European Researchers’ Night in the Valencia Region this year for citizens to discover more about science and research. The initiative is supported by the five public Valencian universities, public healthcare research centres, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the Regional Museum Consortium, the three provincial councils, seven town councils and four foundations, in an effort to build bridges and create links between society and the research community in the region in the fields of science, healthcare, heritage and culture.

 

European action

Since 2005, the European Union has promoted the European Researchers’ Night in the framework of the Marie Sktodowska-Curie actions within the Horizon 2020 programme, intended to highlight the role of researchers among citizens by means of popular science. Therefore, the objective is to make citizens more aware of science, with a focus on young people, seeking to promote future careers in science, technology and research.

 

Related article:

University of Alicante joins the European Researchers’ Night in the Valencia Region

 

NIT_INVESTIGACIO_1 NIT_INVESTIGACIO_2

At the table, from left to right, Pedro Alfaro, Francisco Pujol, Amparo Navarro, Isabel Abril and Enrique Aparicio

 

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Statement by Amparo Navarro on the European Researchers’ Night

 

 

 

 

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