Scholars' Association News
Issue 34
May 2015


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Athens Science Festival 2015
By Nikolas Tsoukalas

For the second consecutive year the Athens Science Festival was hosted at the Municipality of Athens’ Technopolis cultural centre from 17 to 22 March 2015, attracting young and old alike to explore, learn or recall the sciences and their applications which are everywhere to be seen in our day-to-day lives.

The 2nd Athens Science Festival was jointly organised by the Onassis Scholars’ Association, the educational Non-Profit Organization SciCo for Science Communication, the British Council, INNOVATHENS - the Innovation and Entrepreneurialism Hub, the Industrial Gas Museum / Municipality of Athens Technopolis, and the General Secretariat for Research and Technology, in cooperation with around 90 academic and research bodies and educational organizations. The festival was extremely popular with the general public, with more than 30,000 visitors attending events, compared to just 6,000 last year. More than 8,000 of this year’s attendees were school pupils. The successful event was the result of the work of 200 volunteers, 100 artists, 125 speakers, and a total of 1,120 participants.

370 different events were hosted at all Technopolis’ venues, offering more than 200 hours of activities: ranging from workshops with 120 experiments, educational events, educational games, scientific presentations, talks, performances, screenings and exhibitions to interesting lectures from acclaimed Greek and foreign scientists.

The Onassis Scholars’ Association also supported an event entitled ‘Unlocking the brain’s secrets’ held on Saturday 21 March 2015 at the Athens 98.4 FM amphitheatre. The event was hosted as part of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) in partnership with the Hellenic Society for Neuroscience. Seven leading experts from Greece and abroad, each taking a different approach to their research into the brain, talked to the public and raised critical issues of concern to us all. BAW is a worldwide initiative launched by the Dana Foundation to disseminate information and raise awareness among the public about the progress of brain research and brain functions and the benefits thereof.

In addition to jointly organising that event, the Scholars’ Association was also actively involved in making presentations, giving talks and in running workshops. A key player was Thodoris Anagnostopoulos, chairman and co-founder of SciCo. The Festival’s organising committee consisted of Dr. Eleni Konsolaki who teaches biopsychology at Deree College and who also coordinated the event ‘Unlocking the brain’s secrets’; the chemical engineer Olga Skiadi from the Solid Waste Treatment and Special Waste Management Division of the Prefecture of Attica Waste Management Agency, who coordinated the Sustainable Development section of the Festival; and Dr. Konstantinos Morfakis, teacher at the Department of Methodology, History and Theory of Science at the University of Athens, who coordinated ‘History and Philosophy of Science’ section of the Festival.

Other participants included Dr. Loukas Margaritis, Professor Emeritus and Director of the E/M Radiation Research Team of the Department of Biology / University of Athens, who took part in the interactive exhibition ‘Radiation Measurements, Guidance for safe use’; Dr. Spyridoula Varlokosta, Prof. of Neurolinguistics / University of Athens, and Dr. Stamatina Tzanoulinou, researcher in behavioural neuroscience at the University of Lausanne, who also spoke at the ‘Unlocking the brain’s secrets’ event. Epaminondas-Ioannis Bikakis, from OTE S.A., also took part in the Astronomy and Space workshop, while Dr. Ilias Koutsikos, physicist-geophysicist, and scientific associate of the Athens National Observatory took part in the Science Cafe event entitled ‘Earth Radiography’.

(Nikolas Tsoukalas is a geologist and research partner at the University of Athens)

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