Researchers’ Night is an initiative of the European Commission aiming to bring scientists and the public together. Since 2005 it happens on the last Friday of September, this year on 25th September. In Portugal, this year the event took place in four cities simultaneously, Porto, Coimbra, Lisboa and Olhão.
In Lisbon, setting at the gardens of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the public could take part in a range of different interactive activities as hands-on activities, speed-dating with scientists, sci-art installations, cafes scientifiques. At the evening we had Setting The Stage with a series of theatre performances produced for Researchers’ Night 2009, designed to stimulate reflection, discussion and debate on topics related to researchers and their everyday lives. This event brought together research centers, universities, a science museum and theatre groups.
With the sponsorship of the Portuguese bank, Caixa Geral de Depositos, young researchers of the Portuguese Polar Programme actively participated in this event in various ways: with hands-on-activities of the six Polar Research Projects, in the café scientifiques with Gonçalo Vieira and on a theatre play where two of the fellowship students acted; Ana Salomé, research manager of the Portuguese Polar programme, and Ana Almeida, researcher in the Albatroz Project and member of APECS.
In the hands-on activities, carried out by young polar researchers Silvia Lourenço and Ana Almeida, numerous people had the opportunity to see and know more about the life of the Black-browed albatross and Antarctic skuas, about the live cycle of the lantern fish and its importance in the Antarctic food web. People could also learn how to extract DNA from a kiwi fruit or understand how the polar atmosphere works. In the spot people could also see how researchers live on the field by visiting the field tent and provisons for the antarctic expeditions. Brilliant day!!!