Science Slam auf der Falling Walls Conference

Heute bin ich den ersten Tag auf der Falling Walls Conference in Berlin und ich muss sagen, das hat sich schon sehr gelohnt, diesen einen Tag früher hierhergefahren zu sein. Denn heute durften junge Forscher, 100 an der Zahl, in jeweils 3 Minuten ihre Idee präsentieren. Ein schneller Ritt quer durch die Wissenschaften und von eher technisch basierten bis hin zu mitmenschlichen Projekten. Da ich nun nicht alles nochmals neu schreiben kann, meine Originalpostings auf der Falling Walls Blogseite jedoch auf englisch sind, erlaube ich mir nun hier einfach die englischen kurzen Beiträge in dieses Posting zu übertragen.

Groundbreaking Science in 3 Minutes
Ready. Steady. Go! From now on the first of 100 so called „outstanding young academics and professionals will present their groundbreaking ideas in 3 minutes to a distinguished jury of academics“. The aim of this new format the day before the „established“ scientists may present their wall breaking ideas at this year’s Falling Wall Conference in Berlin is to share topics that are on the to-do-list of the upcoming scientists and to get an insight into their scientific work.

This sounds like a really serious Science Slam with competitors (Master’s, PhD, Post-Docs) under the age of 35. Topics are wide spread – from the fields of medicine and health care to humanities and the social sciences, engineering, economics, mathematics and natural sciences, law, agriculture and forestry, cultural sciences as well as art and design (as the press release says).

Some titles of the presentations: “Bad Sound”, “Spectrum Scarcity”, “Unethical Business is in India”, “Asymmetric Wars” or “Around Myth”. Sounds mystical? Sounds pretty interesting! I’ll let you know.


A run through ideas

This Falling Walls Lab is close to be too much for my mind. Every presenter has 3 minutes time. Funny sounds (a cough, a honk, a bicycle bell or barking of dogs) interrupt the speakers and remind them to finish their talk. By this way we now had the opportunity to listen to 2/3 from 100 (!) young researchers from all over the planet till now. And the topics are from a very wide range.

One of my favourite presentations was about sustainability in cities. How can we live in a sustainable way although we live in hugh and growing cities.

Valentina Karga from Greece, now working at the Berlin University of the Arts came up with an idea I heard about nearly two decades ago: Grow your own food in your home. This has been discussed in Future of Works projects since many years (e.g. The Detroit Eastside Bioblock Project or the New Work projects by Frithjof Bergmann).

Karga again promotes the low tech, low cost and do-it-yourself way of living. “Think of houses as ecosystems where we live in symbiosis even with microorganisms (toilett) and play a more active role for production” she recommend to the audience.

Valentina Karga is not only talking about it, she even has built a prototype, applies in her own lifestyle and blogs about it. Last not least she says: “This could also be helpful in any economical crisis.” So true. she says: “This could also be helpful in any economical crisis.” So true.


Education for the Future

If not today so at least in future education obviously must be accessible for all people around the globe. Some of the titles of today’s presentations underline this: “Educational Disadvantage”, “Inequality in Education”, “Inequality in Higher Education”.

Vania Ramos Ponce from the Mexico State University of Puebla emphasizes „Education is a passport to a better life“. She believes in new technologies, which are definitively changing our lives dramatically, can be of a huge benefit to especially poor children who live in rural areas, where there exists no good or even higher educational system. “They all need Internet access and new learning methods have to be established using these new technologies to improve the quality of education.” This way the Internet might become an indispensable tool combating inequality and accelerating development. (I just want to refere e.g. to the Khan academy)

Not so technologically driven is Martin Ruppert from Germany. Together with some fellow students Ruppert launched the Kamerun4AfrikaClub in 2007 to overcome educational disadvantage with German students promoting/financing students from Cameroon. People in Cameroon have by far less money than people in Europe, but “they have to pay for school (fees, uniforms) and even apprentices have to pay their mentors.“ Currently their Club is funding about 100 students – from school to high school to universities.

Anyone anymore ideas for a better education in the future?


Climate Change is all about data

The management of data is not only a personal problem that everybody of us knows by heart. It is the core of a lots of new strategies and research from climate change to proteomics, from data security to open access. So many talks today more or less had to do with data management. Jonathan Friedemann Donges, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute talked about his research on climate impact and the complexity in earth system analysis. The idea is to learn from the past and to create new complex interaction models. For one model he recently created, he brought together paleoclimate-variability transitions and their possible relation to human evolution (the paper will be published soon in the PNAS (1)). It seems there does exist such a relationship. Donges warns us of more severe impact of climate changes in the future. One more study in a long row. One more study in a long row.

(1) Donges, J.F., Donner, R.V., Trauth, M.H., H.-J. Schellnhuber, Kurths, J. (in press): Nonlinear detection of paleoclimate-variability transitions possibly related to human evolution

Soweit meine heutigen Auszüge. Heute Abend werden noch der Jury-Preis und der Publikumspreis ermittelt. Bei 100 Rednern keine leichte Aufgabe.

Nachtrag 9.11.2011: Die Gewinner sind ermittelt.



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Beatrice Lugger ist Diplom-Chemikerin mit Schwerpunkt Ökologische Chemie. Neugierde und die Freude daran, Wissen zu vermitteln, machten aus ihr eine Wissenschaftsjournalistin. Sie absolvierte Praktika bei der ,Süddeutschen Zeitung' und ,Natur', volontierte bei der ,Politischen Ökologie' und blieb dort ein paar Jahre als Redakteurin. Seither ist sie freie Wissenschaftsjournalistin und schreibt für diverse deutsche Medien. Sie war am Aufbau von beteiligt, hat die deutschen als Managing Editor gestartet und war viele Jahre Associated Social Media Manager der Lindauer Nobelpreisträgertagung, des Nobel Week Dialogue in 2012/2013 und seit 2013 berät sie das Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Kommunikation über Wissenschaft, deren neue Erkenntnisse, Wert und Rolle in der Gesellschaft, kann aus ihrer Sicht über viele Wege gefördert werden, von Open Access bis hin zu Dialogen von Forschern mit Bürgern auf Augenhöhe. Seit 2012 ist sie am Nationalen Instituts für Wissenschaftskommunikation, NaWik - und seit 2015 dessen Wissenschaftliche Direktorin. Sie twittert als @BLugger.

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