Behind the scenes at the Weekend of Science
On October 5th 2019, the Faculty opens her doors to showcase her ongoing research, during the national Weekend of Science. Everyone’s invited: neighbors, employees, students, family, friends, etcetera. The title of this year’s edition is “Everything is behavior” (“Alles is Gedrag”). Researchers from all departments will offer a look behind the scenes with a wide variety of activities at the BSS-faculty. You can find an impression of this year’s program here.
Previous editions of the faculty’s Weekend of Science in 2018 and 2017 were very successful. Visitors could participate in lab demonstrations, an ‘information market’, and lectures. There were also some activities for children. Last year, dozens of researchers were on their feet the entire day, interacting with a few hundred visitors in total. Why would any researcher give up their free Saturday for such an event?
PhD-student Erica Kamphorst says that participating in the Weekend of Science inspired the MELLE-research team to think about the societal relevance of the project even more. She tells: “It was especially nice to see people of all ages enjoying themselves with the games we usually use for our young participants. There was a lot of interaction between us as researchers and the visitors .We even recruited a few new participants for the study”. Dr. Laura Batstra also found the event very inspiring. She adds: “The audience was very interested and critical. Personally, I prefer doing research which is directly relevant for society. This implies that I also want to communicate with society. Often, giving a lecture for a societal audience is worth more than you invest: The questions and comments from the audience help me generate new research questions and ways to think about the issues.”
Giving a lecture for a societal audience is worth more than you invest.
Researcher Marjolein Boendermaker and her colleague dr. Katherine Stroebe translated their research on the impact of gas extraction and earthquakes on the Groningen people into a life-size board game. Their research shows that the earthquakes cause a lot of stress and mental health problems. However, this is sometimes hard to grasp for outsiders. Katherine explains: “Sometimes we hear “No one has died yet, have they?”. When visitors of the Weekend of Science played the game, they experienced some of the emotions related to the Groningen gas extractions and earthquakes, which changes their minds. The research topic thus comes to life. Marjolein: “The game lead to interesting conversations with visitors. After the Weekend of Science, we revised the game into a version which we now use for presentations and workshops. The game works much better to raise awareness than just providing the numbers”.
A small committee of volunteers from the faculty organizes the Weekend of Science. Dr. Susan Niessen is one of them. She thinks: “Organizing this event is a great opportunity to get to know people from different departments and learn more about their research. It’s a lot of fun to see how so many enthusiastic faculty researchers come up with creative ways to share their research with the public.”
The event is part of Zpannend Zernike. Everyone, feel welcome to walk in on October 5, between 12pm (noon) and 5pm!