Sci­ence in the City 2017 A night of re­search, arts and the lat­est tech­nolo­gies, in Val­letta

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

This year’s fes­ti­val is more ex­cit­ing than ever be­fore. With a new lay­out and a host of in­no­va­tive ac­tiv­i­ties, the 6th edi­tion of Sci­ence in the City—Euro­pean Re­searchers’ Night, prom­ises to be a night to remember.

On Fri­day 29 September from 6pm un­til mid­night, sci­ence and the arts will trans­form Repub­lic Street, as vis­i­tors of all ages ex­plore the highly in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties. Plans in­clude the usual health and den­tal checks, child-friendly ex­per­i­ments, shows and games, as well as to­tally new ac­tiv­i­ties that find their in­spi­ra­tion in on­go­ing re­search projects here in Malta, such as Light Pushes Stuff, AR Art, Holo­grams and so much more.

Con­sor­tium Chair­man Pro­fes­sor Alex Felice (Univer­sity of Malta) said: “This year, we wanted to fo­cus on the Fu­ture and asked the ques­tion: how does the re­search of to­day shape the so­ci­ety of the to­mor­row? The theme Fu­tures en­com­passes new ways of pro­duc­ing and clean­ing food items, the ben­e­fits of big data, new and in­no­va­tive means of trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and the im­pact of ge­nomics on our health. Sci­en­tific re­search is crit­i­cal in shap­ing to­mor­row’s world and we want every­one to see just how fas­ci­nat­ing the work they do re­ally is.”

Project Man­ager Dr Ed­ward Duca (Univer­sity of Malta) said: “Sci­ence in the City has be­come a na­tional annual event which has been awarded an EFFE la­bel (Europe for Fes­ti­vals, Fes­ti­vals for Europe). Our aim from the start, way back in 2012, was to com­mu­ni­cate sci­ence and re­search to peo­ple of all ages. The fes­ti­val is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween re­searchers, aca­demics, an ever in­creas­ing num­ber of stu­dent vol­un­teers, NGOs, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and artists, who to­gether pro­vide a very in­ter­est­ing range of ac­tiv­i­ties that make Sci­ence in the City such a unique annual event.”

Sil­vio Schem­bri, Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices, Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and In­no­va­tion, said: ‘The ac­tiv­ity is an ex­am­ple of how sci­ence could be an ex­pe­ri­ence for every­one. The cap­i­tal city of­fers the ideal set up so that sci­ence will reach peo­ple from dif­fer­ent spheres of so­ci­ety. We should em­pha­sise the im­por­tance that from a young age chil­dren learn more about sci­ence and how it is con­stantly present around them so that they would ap­pre­ci­ate it and un­der­stand it bet­ter. Through this, we en­cour­age chil­dren and youth to pur­sue a ca­reer in sci­ence. An es­sen­tial step that helps in the strength­en­ing of the in­no­va­tion sec­tor in Malta.’

As in pre­vi­ous years, the event shall be opened the day be­fore with an ex­hi­bi­tion of ex­cit­ing re­search projects by a group of lead­ing young re­searchers with a bright fu­ture. It is known as “Sci­ence in the House” since it is hosted by the Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Par­lia­ment build­ing. It has be­come a unique op­por­tu­nity for Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment to meet Mal­tese sci­en­tists and their re­search. It is co-or­di­nated by Dr David Ma­gri.

Old timers as well as or­gan­i­sa­tions that have never par­tic­i­pated in SitC will set up their stalls at the Sci­ence Fair, City Gate street labs, en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, air mon­i­tor­ing, the sci­ence of trans­port, games, the list is end­less.

A main at­trac­tion is Light Pushes Stuff, an in­ter­ac­tive mov­ing light sculp­ture—a Malta first! And, have you heard? Sci­en­tists have found that light is ca­pa­ble of do­ing so. This could lead to end­less new ap­pli­ca­tions that would change the way we com­mu­ni­cate, travel, etc. Meet the re­searcher and artists who have turned this ex­cit­ing dis­cov­ery into a unique light in­stal­la­tion just off Free­dom Square.

Spazju Kreat­tiv will be host­ing Kids Dig Sci­ence, an ex­hi­bi­tion Trans­mis­sion In­ter­rupted by Martina Camilleri, an MCAST stu­dent, and Get Your Act To­gether (by More or Less The­atre with the sup­port of Val­letta 2018 Foun­da­tion and Malta Arts Fund within Arts Coun­cil Malta). The Cin­ema Room will host a series of talks on the hour by Malta Café Sci­en­tifique, while ĊineX­jenza, a series of short films, fol­lowed by dis­cus­sion, will be shown by the steps lead­ing to Spazju Kreat­tiv at the en­trance to Val­letta.

For the third year run­ning, the new Par­lia­ment build­ing will show­case an ex­hi­bi­tion of ex­cit­ing re­search projects by the Univer­sity of Malta, called Sci­ence in the House.

An NGO area in De Valette Square in­cludes or­gan­i­sa­tions con­cerned with so­cial, en­vi­ron­men­tal, sci­en­tific, artis­tic and his­tor­i­cal is­sues.

This year, STEAM will be set up in St Ge­orge’s Square, the idea is to give bet­ter ac­cess to the stands. STEAM Squared has been set up to host a large num­ber of Uni- ver­sity of Malta’s stu­dent or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Green­house an NGO that takes the threat on the sur­vival of bees very se­ri­ously, will be set­ting up a series of ac­tiv­i­ties to high­light the huge im­por­tance this in­sect has on the fu­ture of our food sup­plies and plant life in gen­eral.

Jazz for the Brain, the re­sult of an un­likely col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween jazz play­ers and a Mal­tese neu­ro­sci­en­tist, will be staged in St Bar­bara Church, where lights and mu­sic will dis­play the com­plex­ity of a stroke, and the tech­nol­ogy be­ing used to ad­dress the con­di­tion.

This year re­searchers will be giv­ing demos and ex­plain­ing their work along Repub­lic Street; keep an eye out for the light cubes. Also along the street, mini stages with fire jug­glers and ex­per­i­ments, a huge sci­ence stage com­plete with ex­plo­sions, an ex­hi­bi­tion on the harm in­flicted by plas­tic waste on ocean life. Ar­ti­fi­cial re­al­ity will bring art to life, while vir­tual re­al­ity will help play­ers em­pathise with peo­ple with spe­cial needs. Crimes will be staged along the street, for the crime hunter ac­tiv­ity, get the app and your phones at the ready to report these crimes to the au­thor­i­ties. Fa­cial recog­ni­tion sta­tions to track your every move, big brother style.

Meet the re­searchers who have benefitted from EU funds to fur­ther their ca­reer, at the EU Cor­ner out­side the MEUSAC build­ing. En­ter the build­ing to find out about the EU’s space pol­icy and go right up to the roof to join the In­sti­tute of Space Sci­ences and Astronomy (ISSA) in the Kids in Or­bit ac­tiv­ity.

This year Sci­ence in the City is burst­ing at the seams, it au­gurs to be the largest Sci­ence and Arts fes­ti­val ever staged on the is­land.

Sci­ence in the City is part of the EU-wide cel­e­bra­tion, Euro­pean Re­searchers’ Night. It is funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Ac­tions of the Hori­zon 2020 Pro­gramme of the EU, and a num­ber of cor­po­rate spon­sors. It is recog­nised as a Fes­ti­val by Europe for Fes­ti­vals and Fes­ti­vals for Europe (EFFE)

A full pro­gramme can be viewed on www.sci­en­ceinthecity.org.mt and the fes­ti­val fol­lowed on Face­book for reg­u­lar up­dates: www.face­book.com/ScienceInTheCi­tyMalta

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