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A greater festival every year

The Rector starts the day thanking all people who got involved and were dedicated to the activity.

The Rector starts the day thanking all people who got involved and were dedicated to the activity.

At 9 a.m. the schools start entering the place.

At 9 a.m. the schools start entering the place.

Most of the visitors are high school students.

Most of the visitors are high school students.

Joan Elias visits all the stands.

Joan Elias visits all the stands.

The Kahoot! questionnaire, one of the visitors' favorite activities.

The Kahoot! questionnaire, one of the visitors' favorite activities.

A 3D printer manufactures Pikachus.

A 3D printer manufactures Pikachus.

This worksop shows the students their brain waves.

This worksop shows the students their brain waves.

One of the five different workshops on plant physiology of the Faculty of Biology.

One of the five different workshops on plant physiology of the Faculty of Biology.

David Kaiser during this conference about Richard Feynman.

David Kaiser during this conference about Richard Feynman.

Guimelda Murell, who pretended to be a researcher from the University of Bristol, with Marga Becerra.

Guimelda Murell, who pretended to be a researcher from the University of Bristol, with Marga Becerra.

14/05/2018

Recerca

The Historical Building of the University of Barcelona is never as full as it gets on the Science Festival day. Actually, it has become a must for those who want to find out in an entertaining and innovative way, the research carried out at the University of Barcelona. On May 11, the Rector starts the day thanking all people who got involved and were dedicated to the activity: organizers, researchers, and volunteers that would make it possible for more than a thousand attendees to take part in fourty activities, workshops and games so they know a bit more about the research of this university.

 

The team of La UB Divulga, led by Marga Becerra, knows this is the result of a process that took many weeks of hard work. This is the fourth edition of the festival, and they know the day will be long and intense but they were excited about it. Many researchers repeat the experience every year, since it is a chance to show people the research that is conducted in the laboratories, offices and fields. This year, many research teams are part of the festival for the first time, and cannot wait for the first visitors to arrive.

 

At 9 a.m. the schools start entering the place and before 10 a.m. there are many queues in all stands. Most of them are high school students but there are also primary education students and kids who come with the families. “Do you know why there are certain people that get bitten by mosquitos more than others?”, asks Xavier Delclòs, from the Faculty of Earth Sciences, to a group of kids. “Because they have sweet blood”, says one girl. “This is what people say, but it is not true. Female mosquitos (because it’s always the female ones) bite people who emit more CO2 and have a higher body temperature”.

 


Philology does research as well

 

“It is great that the University of Barcelona opens its doors to people and shows youngsters that research is not only done at the lab”, says Joan Elias during his visit. Evidence is that there is a high presence of research groups from the Faculty of Philology which provide, among other things, games to know about the Catalan pronunciation or language varieties.

 

“What I liked the most was the Kahoot! questionnaire on young slang”, says a student before leaving. The workshop is carried out by the students from the platform Com ho diria, from the Faculty of Catalan Philology. They analyse the uses of Catalan language among youngsters. “We make a Kahoot! questionnaire because youngsters like it. It’s an online questionnaire and the participants answer a question on their phone. We show a slang expression and they have to choose the most precise standard alternative, or the other way round. It is interesting because we see they all know about slang terms, but they don’t know the meaning of the options in standard Catalan such as cap de trons or perepunyetes”, says the researcher Xavier Mas. 



Pikachu, Muons and brain waves

 

“Look, a Pikachu!” shouts a girl. It is, of course, a Pokemon created with a 3D printer brought by the Department of Materials Science and Physical Chemistry in order to talk about what this technology offers. It allows its users to make prototypes in a fast way and for a lower cost compared to traditional methodologies. Apart from the anecdote of Pikachu, it has several practical uses: “since it is a scalable technology, it can help making from medical implants to car bumpers”, says Pol Barcelona, researcher from the Faculty of Chemistry.

 

Also, a researcher from the Institute of Cosmos Science talks to a group of students who are silently following her explanation: “Although we cannot see just at a glance, the Earth is constantly bombed by particles from the universe, the called cosmic rays”, she says. She talks about muons, a concept they didn’t know about and now find very interesting. 

 

“This is shocking”, says one of the students. They come to visit the workshop Endolla el teu cervell, in which the Cognitive Neuroscience Group (BrainLab) showed them how brain waves change (measured with the encephalogram technique) when we open and close our eyes.


Those who never miss the festival

 

The Faculty of Biology, which is always present in the festival, came to the fourth edition with five different workshops on plant physiology. They tell the visitors about stomas, on how seeds are spread, how the in vitro culture is done, how water pollution is assessed and how important soil is.

 

Other successful workshops are: Simetries, from the Department of Crystallography, Mineralogy; La taula periòdica and La química i el color, from the Faculty of Chemistry; Vine a fer el Iuritest, from the Faculty of Law; De la realitat virtual al món real, from the Faculty of Psychology, and Riu.NeT: l’app per avaluar la qualitat ecològica dels rius, from the Faculty of Biology.

 

There was an additional feature in this year’s festival: a conference by David Kaiser (professor of History of Science and Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to go through the figure of the North-American physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988), coinciding with the centennial of his birth.


An original ending for the festival

 

In order for the researchers who participated in the festival to meet the other colleagues and their workshops, an internal activity was prepared as the ending of the festival. Carried out humorously by an actress who pretended to be a researcher from the University of Bristol, invited by the vice-rector for Doctoral Studies and Research Promotion, Xavier Roigé, she has commented on anecdotes and singularities of the festival while the members of the research groups and the organizers were having lunch: “my head is about to explode because this day has been very interesting. I cannot talk about all of the workshops, I am sorry, because 38 are too many, you know”.

 

The festival ends and its balance cannot be better: “It was worth the effort and our valuation is very positive. The visitors and researchers were happy and we are already thinking about next year’s edition”, says Marga Becerra, head of the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit (UCC+i) of the University of Barcelona, and “mother” of the UB Science Festival.     




 

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