It’s always great when scientists from different institutions can share their complex research with the public at large. That was the case last September at Milan’s Indro Montanelli gardens for the “MEETmeTONIGHT” event.
This is one of the many events that were part of 2018 “European Researchers’ Night.” In Milan, it was organized by the University of Milan-Bicocca, the University of Milan, the Polytechnic of Milan and the Municipality of Milan, together with University of Naples Federico II. This is part of a continent-wide program of putting the public with scientists, who can share their research and insights.
Scientists Are People!
“The main aim of the European Researchers’ Nights is to show who researchers are, not only as scientists but also as persons, how much research is present in our daily life and how pivotal is the role of Europe in research,” as 2018 MEETmeTONIGHT coordinator Michele Nicolosi said in a statement released to JoVE.
Science and research are too often viewed as remote from everyday life, Nicolosi explained. “The intention of the European Researchers’ Night is flipping this stereotype, showing how research impacts our lives, how fundamental it is, how much it is present in the technologies and tools that we use daily, and showing that science is not only for an elite group of persons, but for everyone.”
Seeing Science Is Understanding
JoVE attended the event in Milan, talking to researchers from University of Milan-Bicocca. One such scientist was Dr. Francesco Peri. “Every molecule has a story,” he told JoVE. “And today we want to tell this story to students.” To support that approach, his booth’s display had a model of a molecule, that could be rearranged to demonstrate the molecule’s transformation into a medicinal component.
Peri explained that to learn how science actually works, students must actually see the concepts in a concrete way. “Visualization in science is fundamental at all levels,” he said. “If you want to show a scientific concept to everybody you have to make the communication of science simpler.”
He noted his own personal interest in visually recording experiments, and then showing them to colleagues around the world. That way, it would “improve the reproducibility of an experiment.”
Successful Science Outreach
Nicolosi said that 2018’s MEETmeTONIGHT united 2,000 researchers for two days with 60,000 members of the public. These participants were able to “discover the beauty of research and to dive into researchers’ lives.”
This is great news to us. At JoVE, we always support events that bring scientists closer to the public. We’re especially enthusiastic to help attract students, particularly ones who might be looking into a career in scientific research.
And we can’t wait to participate in the 2019 European Researchers’ Night.