XIII Warsaw Science Festival 2009

The XIII Science Festival took place in Warsaw between September 19 and 27. Each year the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology actively participates in this event. For the 2009 edition of the Festival we have prepared an extensive and attractive program, consisting of 15 events grouped in 5 themes.

This year as part of our YOUTH CLUB we have offered for the first time ever a series of lectures for high school students, particularly this year’s high school graduates. Four lectures were delivered in this program, designed to widen the knowledge of those who plan to take an advanced biology exam for their high school leaving exams. The following lectures were given:

Is excessive adipose tissue really bad for health? – A. Dobrzyń
Plasma membrane, structure and functions – K. Kwiatkowska
Cystoskeletal proteins interacting with cell membranes – M. J. Rędowicz
Secrets of cell structure – E. Wyroba, R. Bartosiewicz, H. Bilski

These classes have met with great interest, especially Prof. Elżbieta Wyroba’s lecture. So many students showed up for her talk that some of them did not fit into the conference room and had to schedule individual classes with the lecturer.

We also offered classes in the so-called CLUBS which consisted of 3 thematic series.
The first one was entitled Why and how we age? and has been prepared by Prof. Ewa Sikora. This series consisted of 3 lectures combined with book signing events.

The following lectures were delivered:
Biogerontology – K. Książek, E. Sikora, M. Kowaleczko-Szumowska
Tim of Our Lives – T. Kirkwood, E. Sikora, M. Kowaleczko-Szumowska (lecture in English translated into Polish)Where’s Baba Gone? – S. Rattan, E. Sikora, M. Kowaleczko-Szumowska (lecture in English translated into Polish)
„Biogerontology” is a collective work and it is the first publication on the Polish market written and edited by Polish biogerontologists. The two other books were authored by excellent biogerontologists, Prof. Tom Kirkwood and Prof. Suresh Rattan who were invited to speak at the Festival. Their books and lectures have been translated into Polish by Monika Kowaleczko-Szumowska. For the first time in the history of the Institute’s presence at the Festival we hosted foreign speakers. Their talks were attended by a large audience and arouse great interest. Long after the lectures the speakers talked with individual participants and signed books.

A radio reporter representing the Polish Radio, News from Poland attended the Why and how we age? lectures. In addition, on September 23 at 9 pm Prof. Suresh Rattan gave a live interview for the Polish Radio III Program.

The second series in the CLUBS was entitled See the thought: how works the brain in norm and pathology and was prepared by prof. Elżbieta Szeląg.

It included 3 lectures:
New methods of rehabilitation are developed in scientific laboratories – E. Szeląg, M. Lewandowska, J. Mędygrał, A. Oroń
Big magnet and human thoughts overhearing – E. Piątkowska-Jank, P. Bogorodzki
Devices aided neuropsychological rehabilitation – T. Wolak

The last two lectures have been presented by invited lecturers from the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology of the Warsaw University of Technology and the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing. Films shown during the lectures, test demos and materials prepared for the audience aroused great interest. During the lectures contests were set up for the audience with prizes given for correct answers.

The third thematic series was related to Darwin Year and included 2 lectures:
Darwinizm – history and present – L. Kuźnicki
Evolution of the mammalian brain – K. Turlejski

A large audience showed up for each talk.

Each year our PhD students actively participate in the Festival. This year they have prepared a very interesting program entitled To see and to believe for the WEEKEND MEETINGS and invited Prof. E. Wyroba to participate. The following lectures were given:
Double face of cholesterol – somewhat on endocytosis and heart attacks – E. Wyroba
Mysteries of confocal microscopy – J. Korczyński
Can we believe our eyes? Mysteries of optical illusions – A. Foik

Their other initiative Bio-preschool was enthusiastically received by children and their parents.
The following people were involved in the preparation of the Saturday mornings events:

Seweryn Bajer
Czarek Bregier
Maciej Czerkies
Maciej Gawlak
Dorota Gierej
Paulina Jedynak
Jarek Korczyński
Magdalena Lebiedzińska
Ania Łukasik
Kasia Sobierajska
Marzena Stefaniuk
Kasia Wierzbicka
Artur Wolny
Andrzej Foik

The total of 35 people from the Nencki Institute contributed to the XIII Warsaw Science Festival. Our classes have been attended by almost 650 people.

There is no doubt that we will be present at the Festival next year.

Anna Wasik

Date of publication
24 June 2010