A party that never lets us down

The 7th Science Fest was held virtually from May 25 to 28.

The 7th Science Fest was held virtually from May 25 to 28.

The Science Fest of the University of Barcelona never lets us down. Last week, the seventh edition of this annual event that opens the doors to see the research of the UB took place. For its second year in a row, due to the pandemic situation, the activities were held virtually. This did not stop people from participating, nor the UB teaching and research staff from explaining their work in a simple and understandable way using playful activities. 

Watching and enjoying the Fest in live-stream

The first live activity took place on Tuesday 25, in the afternoon, and was carried out by Sònia Estradé, lecturer at the Faculty of Physics, member of the Feminist Assembly of the UB and president of AMIT Catalunya; M. Teresa Lluch, professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Anna Sànchez Vidal, lecturer at the Faculty of Earth Sciences. Chaired by Estrella Montolío, professor at the Faculty of Philology and Communication, the researchers talked about the situation of women in the field of research and academics in the colloquium titled "Dones i acadèmia" . In this talk, apart from sharing their individual experiences, from different fields, they talked on topics such as the impostor’s syndrome (believing you do not deserve to be where you are and that you are not good enough), which they admitted having felt sometimes. They also talked about the role of the media and how little women are represented, they also mentioned the strength of patriarchy, vertical and horizontal segregation, and the need to empower women since they are girls.

The second colloquium was live-streamed on Thursday, May 27, and its topic, treated in a cross-sectional and multifaceted way, could not be more up to date: "La salut global" . The activity debated on whether it is possible to reach a full state of physical, mental and social wellness worldwide, or whether we can prevent the emergence of new epidemics. The chairperson of this session was Gemma Marfany, rector’s delegate for scientific dissemination, and the guests who analysed the complexity of the health balance of he planet were Enoch Albertí, professor at the Department of Political Sciences, Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law; Rosina Gironès, professor at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics, and Antoni Plasència, general manager of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

On Thursday 27, there were two live workshops you could not miss. In the morning, the workshop "Què és la química?" , gave an answer to questions such as if we could live without chemistry, which is associated with the idea of toxicity many times. Ana Belén Caballero and Jaume Granell, from the Department of Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, explained -using laboratory devices and home-made methods- how to identify the level of acidity in known products which are present at home, and made demonstrations of luminescence with daily-use objects. It was a unique opportunity to make questions and wonder how chemistry is that present and necessary in our daily lives.

In the afternoon, the workshop on nutrition "Analitzem com omplim el rebost!" , with research staff from the Food and Nutrition Torribera Campus of the UB, revealed relevant information which is sometimes hidden in food packaging, using the creation of a daily menu. This activity dismantled some false beliefs linked to food, using scientific evidence.

The last colloquium closed the Fest on Friday 28, in the afternoon. It analysed climate change and confirmed how the action of the human being on the global variation of the planet’s climate is a contrastable fact. With a conversation chaired by Xavier Giménez, lecturer at the Faculty of Chemistry, the speakers offered a cross-sectional perspective of the world we live in. M. Carme Llasat, professor at the Faculty of Physics, talked about extreme meteorological phenomena; Clara Torrentó, researcher at the Faculty of Earth Sciences, talked about the effect of pollutants, and Jordi Serra-Cobo, lecturer at the Faculty of Biology, talked about the impact of climate change on the ecosystems of the planet and the globalization of this change.  

Pieces of science and group activities completed the offering

The group activities of the fest consisted on five practical proposals to carry out in the classroom. Each of these included a video so that schools could see the face-to-face workshop previously recorded with a school group, as well as a list of materials to reproduce the experience in their classroom. The activities brought children and teenagers to the inside of the Earth using a comparison with onions, they got familiar with ideas such as mediation and the role of soils, and learnt about the world of constellations, and played the role of a forensic linguist.

There were many science pieces from all knowledge fields. Participants could find out, for instance, about the language diversity in the world, how neurons interact, how the herbarium of the University of Barcelona is, what acid rain is as well as its effects on buildings, and whether the streets, parks and squares of our cities are well-designed.

All the activities of the Fest (live-streamed and recorded to enjoy them any time) were well-received by the audience. So far, the published proposals on the Youtube channel of La UB Divulga , have accumulated 2,000 views. These will remain published and can be seen as many times as people want.  

This podcast features an interview with Gemma Marfany, rector’s delegate for scientific dissemination, talking about the Fest, going over some outstanding activities of the event and appreciating the successful participation of citizens in this unique date with the UB research:

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