Science and Cocktails is one of the most relaxed, suprising and interesting scientific events I have been to!
I had heard about it through a friend and really wanted to see it by myself. I browsed the web for some time until I finally found the facebook group of “Science and Cocktails“. I registered to the next lecture “Physics and Issues behind nuclear power”.
The venue for the lecture was Byens Lys (City’s Light), Christiania’s movie theater. I biked through Copenhagen’s freetown until I finally found the old military building which has been turned into the cosiest movie theater!
I came in and the first thing I saw was a bar run by men wearing white lab coats. They served smoking cocktails to the customers chatting around while waiting for the lecture.
I didn’t stay at the bar but instead went directly towards the theater seats and the scene which were bathing in a dark red light and a cosmic electronic music. The trailer for the lecture was being shown on the screen again and again :
The general atmosphere was absolutely cool and relaxed. My neighbour even offered me some candies
There was an artist painting on the left hand side of the room.
Then the music started to play a little higher and a trip through galaxies and the universe started on the screen. A human looking inhabitant of planet X31 appeared and welcomed the audience: “Welcome to Science and Cocktails, we’re transmitting live from planet X31, 20 billions lightyears away from planet Earth. (…) Science and Cocktails is an initiative taken by a bunch of people who believe that scientific research is worth sharing. Its purpose is to make people aware of scientific research and also of its uses through media, through art, through music and even through the craft of cocktails.”
The use of movie and the whole staging has a real magical effect, since it gets the audience in a proper state of mind in order to communicate with a scientist. The staging creates a common universe for the lecturer and his/her audience and makes the understanding and communication easier.
I, at least, was ready to get involved in a lecture on hard core physics!
And it was really interesting indeed! Professor Jens Jørgen Gaardhøje from the Niels Bohr Institute told us about the physics behind nuclear power in a simple and funny way. The topic being very political, it aroused political comments that professor Gaardhøje did not want to get involved in. It could have been interesting though to invite politicians to participate to the debate, just to see how they integrate scientific knowledge in their strategy and decisions…
I went to see the artist at the end of the lecture. His name was Henrik. He had been painting the whole time. The result was a rather dark background where two thin green and red lines – inspired by the researcher’s presentation – were passing through. I asked him if his painting was so dark because of the lecture. He answered “No, maybe it’s just because I thought it was a little difficult to understand…”. Henrik told me that he had been painting during each session, and that he really enjoyed this way of working. Pictures of some of his paintings have been published on the facebook group.
Science and Cocktails is a series of lectures arranged by young researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute (University of Copenhagen). It was started by Jácome Armas.
You can experience a Science and Cocktails session by watching this video from March 20 this year.