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Do we need “Wissen vom Fass”? Yes, absolutely

There is one thing, that “Wissen vom Fass” (Science on Tap) surely achieved: The event on 15 October was quite successful in focussing on topics of cutting edge research in natural sciences. “In my experience the city is immensely interested in science,” Prof. Jan Louis, who initiated the event, had previously said. And the response to “Wissen vom Fass” confirmed his words.


Wissen vom FassScience on Tap

Prof. Jan Louis (Universität Hamburg) had heard about the concept in Israel. Credit: DESY/Gesine Born

Although some bar visitors were surprised by the event, most of the guests seemed to be well informed and obviously had specifically chosen one of the 30 bars, a certain topic, or a speaker. In spite of the tight time schedule between 6 and 8 pm, some people even succeeded in hopping from one bar to another, in order to catch up with as much science as possible.

Later in the evening Prof. Louis was obviously relieved: It was him who had convinced his colleagues at the department of physics, at DESY, SFB 676, CUI and PIER to step onto the scientifically foreign terrain of bars. Nobody should have been confronted with locked doors or empty chairs; nobody should have had to look into indifferent faces. Indeed, the opposite was the case: Some of the bars could have offered double the places in order to meet the demand. But maybe the speakers and audiences who sat together in smaller numbers profited most. Here, also details could be communicated that at other places were drowned in multifarious bar sounds. In some cases discussions after the talks were so exciting that the speaker skipped the Aftershow-Party in the Schanzenviertel.


Prof. Georg Weiglein (DESY) and Postdoc Stefan Liebler (DESY) enjoyed the special atmosphere in St. Pauli Museum Bar. Credit: DESY/Shruti Patel

The concept – 30 scientists talk about their work in almost 30 bars at the same time – also attracted medial interest. Radio and TV stations as well as newspapers had announced the event and had sent reporters into the bars. Some of them had an “instructive and entertaining tour through the bars of the city” (Hamburger Abendblatt), others called their experience a “culture shock” (Spiegel Online). The organization team rubbed their eyes in astonishment, when reading some of the statements and comments in the internet, but in this way the event even managed to reach a vote in the Swiss news-website “20 Minuten”. On 20 October 2015, 785 people had answered the question “Do we need Science on Tap in Switzerland?” – 84 percent said: “Yes, absolutely.”

Read more:

20 Minuten: Astrophysik zwischen Tresen und Toilette “Science on Tap” – science with a twist

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