The Nencki Institute at the 16. Scientific Picnic of the Polish Rdio ant teh Copernicus Science Centre

Nencki employees also participated in the event – they presented a series of demonstrations entitled: “SO LITTLE BUT SO FULL OF ENERGY!” – organized by the Laboratory of Ethology and “A BRAIN FULL OF ENERGY = A BRAIN FULL OF IDEAS” – organized by PhD candidates from the Nencki Institute.

The presentations on ants’ colonies attracted countless visitors, who learned about ants’ social behaviour, what determines it and how it is studied. People who came to our tent had an opportunity to see a small ant colony of European red wood ants in an observation nest and watched the building behaviour of worker ants living in ant hills (Let’s build an ant hill!). They also peeked at a nest of underground ants (Let’s build a nest!). Another popular activity was watching a small ant colony consisting of a queen, her offspring and worker ants taking care of them (Let’s take care of the kids!). Especially popular were observations carried out by the visitors themselves. Using binoculars they compared individuals of different kinds and different morphological forms within the same kind (Let’s have a closer look!). Many people admired a poster showing a „strongwoman” ant.

An art competition for children held at out tent attracted many young visitors, who drew ants or made them out of clay. Awards were given and the exhibition of children’s works was admired by parents and other visitors.

The presentations held by Nencki employees in the second tent were also popular. The first one introduced our guests to the microworld. They learned the rules of working with a light microscope, made the preparations, watched and photographed them using a camera built into the microscope.

A presentation on optical illusions was also very popular (Do not believe your eyes!) especially since the illusions were later explained.

Another activity for younger visitors was a workshop on magical potions, during which they mixed colourful solutions, created concoctions and were introduced to the basic lab equipment.

A competition with awards was held on brain functions. By answering simple questions and doing simple tasks, children as well as adults learned how the brain works during remembering, learning, reading, colour differentiation and other tasks.

Anna Szczuka and Alicja Puścian talked about presentations held by Nencki at the 16. Scientific Picnic on the air for the Polish Radio Program I and Anna Szczuka for Polish Press Agency.

This year, as before, online participants ( could watch the Picnic in real time.

All participants who visited the 16. Picnic – organisers, hosts and guests promised to return next year.

Nencki Institute events were organized with funding from the project Bio-IMAGmaging in research and Education INovation (BIO-IMAGINE).

Date of publication
9 May 2012