Science Slams – Science on Stage
At a science slam, young researchers take to the stage and have just ten minutes in which to explain their findings in an original way. The audience then votes for the entrants they considered to be the best.
A young man in a denim shirt stands on the stage. He's talking about his physics class at school. He tells the audience how the last girl eventually left the course, and how the teacher prophesied that, as physicists, they would lead lonely lives. Within just one minute his audience is spellbound, and after ten minutes everyone in the room has understood how a particle accelerator works and what the theory of relativity is all about. What is more, everyone has had a good laugh and really enjoyed themselves. The young man in question is called Boris Lemmer and this presentation earned him the first prize in the German Science Slam 2011.
Finding the right images
The audience discusses and decides
Ten minutes of talk time
Winners of a poetry slam can re-enter each year and literally embark on a career in slamming. All they have to do is keep writing new poems. That is not how it works with a science slam. “A doctoral thesis often results only in one or two topics”, says Julia Offe. Although slammers are of course free to tour through different cities, giving this one presentation in each, they would eventually have to write a new doctoral thesis in order to be able to take part again. This system has two advantages: for one thing, it means that the spotlight is trained on ever new fields of research, and for another thing audiences are always able to experience new candidates.
In principle, science slams are open to anyone, and the name is intentionally not protected. Anyone can organize their own slam, and many have followed the example, with initial slams having already taken place in Austria, Scandinavia and Switzerland. “Occasionally there are New Agers and nutcases who think they've found a stage for their theories”, reports Julia Offe. Or people get involved who want to advertise their products. Such entrants are rejected, however, ensuring that science slams remain a platform at which young scientists can present their work to a broader public.
is a biology graduate, journalist and crime writer.
Translation: Chris Cave
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Internet-Redaktion
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