Plenty of surprises, mind-blowing experiments, games and science shows await you at Science is Wonderful! Navigate the map and scroll through the booths to find out more about our amazing researchers and the activities they will present. We have created five science routes for you to make the most of the exhibition with your pupils or family.
Trace the trash
Did you know that plastic makes up many objects of every day life (including toys)? And that it can break up into smaller and smaller pieces that become almost invisible to the naked eye? These tiny particles are called microplastics and are difficult to find: camouflaged with sand grains, floating at the surface or deeper in the ocean. Scientists use multiple tools to discover where they hide. Join us in this quest for plastic trash!
Researchers: Luisa Galgani, Alessio Corsi, Giuseppe Suaria
Is that a solid or a liquid?
It is well known that pure substances exist as three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. We invite you to question this traditional classification, which is often too simplistic in the world of materials science. Materials can be hard, fluffy, stretchable, they can flow and bounce. We can tune these properties to make them functional to our needs by modifying their composition, arrangement, and interaction among large molecules (polymers). This determines whether a material behaves like a solid, a liquid, or even like both at the same time. The proposed experiment will help to understand why polymers are essential in daily life
Researchers: Anny Catalina Ospina Patino, Viviana María Ospina Guarin, Navid Mostofi Sarkari
Underwater robot, follow me!
Do you know that underwater robots are assisting scientists in exploring the depths, darkness, vastness, and immense pressure forces of the ocean? They can go where humans cannot and, by mapping the ocean, help us protect and restore it. Join us to learn how scientists are utilising artificial intelligence to increase the autonomy of the robots used to study the ocean. Become the pilot of an underwater robot for a day!
Researchers: Ivan Masmitja, Giacomo Picardi
Keep calm and scroll on
You surely use some social media platform every single day (call it Instagram® or TikTok®). And we all know how addictive the short reels can get, no? But who decides which videos, out of the 30+ billion available, we get to see every time we scroll? And how? Let’s discover together the system that decides what we watch next and see how it’s influenced by us and how we can influence it with every scroll.
Researchers: Katerina Nastou, Moreno Papetti
Ant biodiversity - Heat matters!
We gigantic humans experience temperature in a very different way than tiny creatures do. For small animals such as ants, temperature is a quickly changing thing that can turn from comfortable to deadly in mere seconds. At our booth, experience local temperature variability like an ant would using high-resolution thermometers, and understand how this shapes insect communities around the world! From biodiversity to adaptation to extreme environments, we'll guide you through the wonderful life of these social insects.
Researchers: Quentin Willot, Ida Cecilie Jensen
New Leg, New Life!
Have you ever broken your leg? If not, lucky you! But you probably know someone who did. Do you know how difficult it is to do things when a leg is not functioning properly? It’s difficult to play football or to go visit your grandparents. Even just sitting at a table is a complicated task. In some cases, it is not possible to repair the leg and people need a new one to continue doing these activities. With science and technology, we can make this happen! Come see us to understand how to make people walk again, and improve their lives!
Researchers: Mehdi Saeidi, Clement Favier, Diana Toderita, Angus Clark
Rockets – or why we cannot fly an airplane into space
Have you ever wondered how a rocket can fly into space even when it can no longer push itself away from the ground? That’s why rockets do not work like that!
Or have you ever asked yourself the question of why the International Space Station is not simply flung out into space?
You see, although we use mobile phones connected to satellites every day, for the most part, space stays a mystery to most of us. But don't worry, we hope we can explain some of the mysteries of space exploration to bring space science back down to Earth.
Researchers: Christopher Glaser, Jouke Jan Hijlkema
Antibodies in our bodies!
Who likes to be sick? Nobody! How does the body defend us from any invader? Bacteria, viruses, fungi... there are endless possible risks! Luckily for us, we too can produce an (almost) endless variety of antibodies! Do you want to know how? Then come and find out!
Researchers: Rodrigo García Valiente, Marta Schips
Science with lasers and gummy bears
Did you know that white light, such as sunlight, is made of all the colours of the rainbow?
Shine a light of different rainbow colours onto a fish with fluorescence and it will cast a shadow or glow with a different colour!
Why would anyone want to make fish glow? Glowing fish or any aquatic organisms can help us understand their biology! We use fluorescent tags to highlight cells and tissues.
What about the shadows? Shadows are produced when light is blocked by the internal structures and organs, which gives us information about the anatomy of the fish.
The shadows and glowing light are captured by a 3D microscope and used to create 3D images and videos of cells, tissues, and organs inside living fish.
Researchers: Teresa Margarida Matias Correia, David Paleček, Rute Castelo Félix
1000 ways to die in human evolution…
From being eaten by crocodiles to developing a disease, there are many (many!) ways of dying in our evolutionary history. The interesting thing is that understanding death is also a way of approaching how our ancestors lived. Discover key prehistoric fossils of our evolution, touch them (the 3D prints of virtual models) and learn what they can tell you about yourself… Are you ready to join us on a virtual journey to the past?
Researchers: Edgard Camarós, Ashleigh Louise Ann Wiseman
Let it burn! Using magnetic nanoparticles to burn a tumour!
Do you know that some types of cancer are difficult to access? In such cases, chemotherapy and its side effects can bring even worse consequences than the disease itself. BUT, there is a technique that helps us burn these tumours with the help of metallic nanoparticles!!
Do you want to try? Then join us and become a doctor for a day!
Researchers: Maria Antonieta Ramirez Morales, Rodrigo Rivas Barbosa
Drug discovery detectives!
It can be really tough to find new drugs to treat so many diseases. Scientists can spend lots of time finding new treatments, only to find out they just don’t work. Not only that, but research also costs a lot of money! Thankfully, drug repurposing lets us take drugs used for other illnesses and use them for new ones. Kind of like recycling! Join us as we explore the world of drug repurposing, its challenges, and benefits, and see if you can earn the title of “Drug Discovery Detective”!
Researchers: Shannon Amy Jenkins, Alina Meyer
Get your crystal clear!
Did you know that your favourite gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets and LEDs are based on industrial crystals grown in factories? Although these crystals are impressive in size, they are far from perfect and their imperfections can reduce the efficiency of your devices or even cause them to fail.
At our stand, you will have the opportunity to see these crystals up close before they are processed for use in electronic devices. You can also try finding the defects in a massive 260kg sapphire crystal! And then see how much more detail our automated crystal scanners reveal.
Come to see the wonderful world of industrial crystals and learn how digital quality control saves resources and makes crystals clearer.
Researchers: Caroline Cheze, Marie-Pierre Vidonne
Unlock your inner poet with our multilingual ‘Téléphone Arabe’
Come play a multilingual ‘Chinese whispers 2.0’ with us! You’ll get to be a computer-assisted poet by sending text messages. Now, don’t be afraid if the answer comes back in another language. We will try to decipher it together; every interpretation will do! Does anything in this gibberish ‘ring a bell’ in the languages you know? It’s your turn again – send another message inspired by the associations you have just had. We will play a couple of rounds and then compare the first and the last message – to see how far the creative power of multilingualism can take you!
Researchers: Elina Mikkilä, Aija Sakova
Let’s dive into the brain!
Do you know that our brain is way more powerful than any existing computer?
Do you want to know how our brain works?
Together we will unravel the mysteries of the brain through amazing hands-on activities.
We will learn more about neurons, their functions and their connections, diving together into the fascinating world of our brain!
Researchers: Claudia Cecchetto, Adamantia Deligiannopoulou
Secret plant language
Modern agriculture often uses chemicals to grow plants faster. These can have a huge ecological impact. So why don't we use the natural superpower of plants? We know, that plants exude different chemicals to lure beneficial bacteria, and we also know that beneficial root-microbe interactions can improve the stress resilience of plants, but we have little knowledge about the nature of these processes. It is necessary to understand this chemical “language” to use it in agriculture. In my project, I work to provide tools to understand this language better and uncover the superpower of plants.
Researchers: Daniel Patko, Sepideh Izaddoust
50 Shades of Light: From classical... to quantum!
What is Light? Through different interactive scientific experiments, we invite you to discover the intriguing object that is light. Come and get lost in a laser maze, wear diffractive glasses, and discover... a quantum Manneken-Pis!
Researchers: Martin Codier, Sofia Pazzagli, Daniel Lechner
Size does matter! How does plastic end-up on your plate?
Every day, plastic objects, such as bottles or single-use bags, are discarded in nature and often end up in aquatic environments. These are broken down into micro-, and nano-plastics. Nano-plastics are invisible to the naked eye and cannot be removed from water, meaning they are taken up by aquatic organisms, both in the wild and in aquaculture farms. This affects animals, disturbing their ability to fight diseases, digest food or reproduce correctly. It also means that plastic ends up in the food you eat! So time to learn more about how scientists research the effects of nano-plastic pollution in aquaculture fish!
Researchers: Manuel Blonç, Irene Brandts, Mariana Teles
Lab, Street, Biology & Design
Our organism is a fascinating high-tech machine of multiple levels, layers, and scales. Some parts are so small that they go unnoticed because we can't see them. What happens at the scale of nanometres? Can we visualize such complex components on a scale
Researchers: Carla Molins-Pitarch, Daniel Ricart Sanchez, David Ricardo Ahumada Brena
Settling down: Discover the birth of towns
Did you know that humans have lived in houses and cities for only 1% of our history? And that the appearance of permanent homes had major effects on our diets, technologies, beliefs and social relationships? Join us in exploring the world of the first villagers: uncover an excavation, produce your own records, and analyse your finds under the microscope. Piece together the evidence to unlock the secrets of past societies and discover how they have shaped the modern world. Calling all budding archaeologists!
Researchers: Aroa Garcia-Suarez, Marta Portillo Ramirez, Gerard Remolins Zamora
Rapid evolution meets invasive species
There are millions of different species around the world. Every time you walk in a park or swim in the sea you are in contact with a high amount of biodiversity. But do you know that some of these species that you see are “invaders”? Yes, some species have better potential than others to invade new environments and this could be due to natural or anthropogenic pressure. Come and discover with us how these species adapt to these new environments, and why Science is so Wonderful.
Researchers: Diana Martinez-Alarcon, Jehan-Hervé Lignot
Zero nanoplastics hero!
Nanoplastics in fish: to eat or not to eat? Nanoplastics in bottled water: to drink or not to drink? Do you know what nanoplastic is? Do you know what methods we use to find them? Do you know how we can reduce the emission of plastic nanoparticles? To answer these questions and dive into the nanoplastics world, we have created a special game for our little scientists to play and become zero nanoplastics heroes! See you soon!
Researchers: Milica Velimirovic, Carlos Adelantado Sánchez, Géraldine Dumont
Let's talk with light!
Have you ever lost the remote control of your TV? And then found it just under the table? Imagine controlling your TV or other machines using a light similar to your smartphone flashlight, no more wasted time! Learn about wifi that uses light to control a robot. Understand how you can control devices around you using light and your world will light up!
Researchers: Talia Xu, Miguel Antonio Chavez Tapia, Daniel Tomas Menacho Ordoñez, Kiara Micaela Rodriguez Bautista
Watch your language(s)!
Discover with us how researchers unravel the processes underlying language processing by recording listeners’ eye and hand movements. Try it out yourself and participate in an eye- or mouse-tracking experiment! Join us if you want to learn more about how humans process language within milliseconds.
Researchers: Judith Schlenter, Maki Kubota, Marit Kristine Westergaard
All eyes are unique
Your eye has totally different measurements compared to those of the person next to you. This defines how good your vision is and changes over time. I’m sure that, over the years, you’ve noticed how much you have grown. Could you still put on your little sister´s shoes? Or your father’s? The same goes for glasses and contact lenses. When you get older, your vision of the world will be totally different from what it is now – it evolves. We do our research to make sure it’s at least as good.
Researchers: Elsa Albero-Ros, Darshan Ramasubramanian, Youssef Marrakchi Chikri
Frequency Cat - The secret hidden in the sound
Experience the magic of Frequency Cat! Take a selfie and turn it into sound using our app, then reveal the photo again in the frequency domain. It's an interactive and fun way to explore the secrets hidden between sound and image, capture memories and share them with friends. Plus, you can download the app from the App Store to continue the fun after the event. Come and discover the new way of capturing memories with Frequency Cat!
Researchers: Xian Wu, Fei Qu, Xuesong Zhang
To electromagnetism and beyond!
Have you ever thought about what makes popcorn pop in the microwave? Or what makes the radio play music when you are in the car? Or why you should switch off your electronic devices on an airplane? Well, it all has to do with electromagnetic waves that are around you! Yes! Right now! You can’t see them, but they are the reason that you can video-call your friends, listen to your favourite music in the car or even pop some popcorn in your microwave for a movie night! Discover how the electromagnetic waves work, create your own interference signal, and learn how scientists use a huge microwave to assure that everything works correctly! Are you ready?
Researchers: Vasso Gkatsi, Daria Nemashkalo
Let's discover YOUR superpowers
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming lives, society, and work. What we too often forget, is that AI is still under construction. Our booth explores your idea about the future of work and what capabilities you believe are essential to succeed in the future workplace. We will take a dive into an exciting and interactive trip back to the future where your imagination will take the lead, because the way you view work could be how it will eventually unfold. At the end of the thought experiment, we will show you what kind of human capabilities can actually be used in the future in the context of artificial intelligence.
Researchers: Kamila Moulaï, Gazi Islam
Healthy blood, healthy you!
Have you ever considered how your body works? How can the oxygen you breathe in through your nose and the nutrients you receive from food nourish each and every cell in your body? Well, blood is what makes it all happen! Come learn about the components of your blood, how it moves through your body, and have a closer look at the function of red blood cells and the significance of their healthy circulation.
Researchers: Aline Hatem, Min Qiao
Building blocks of life in Virtual Reality
Step into the virtual world of proteins and discover the unseen forces that shape our lives. Explore the intricacies of these tiny molecules and see how they play a critical role in everything from our health to our survival. From the tiniest cells to the largest organisms, proteins are the building blocks of life. Join us on an immersive journey and experience the power of a single molecule in shaping the world around us in Virtual Reality.
Researchers: Prajwal DSouza, Jonas Krebs, Gustavo Dias Luz
Music for the eyes
Did you know that deaf people can feel and see music? Did you know that when deaf people see sign language and feel the vibrations of the music, their brain reacts just like the brain of hearing people when they hear music? Discover how some interpreters translate music into a visual art form to make it accessible to deaf audiences… but remember: leave it to the professionals and always consult with your local deaf association!
Researchers: Angela Tiziana Tarantini
How to train your body against diseases?
When you get ill, your body has some guardians called immune cells that come to the rescue to get rid of the disease. But sometimes, these immune cells need a little help. That's where our project comes in! We want to find ways to make the immune cells work even better. We want to help them to go to the right place at the right time to stop the bad diseases. Come and learn how to train the guardians of your body.
Researchers: Jean-Christophe Lone, Gonçalo Malpica, Marc Veldhoen
Light – powering your internet!
When we talk about the internet, we rarely think about what it is or how it works. How can it actually connect your computer/pc/phone to the world? How this happens is the electromagnetic spectrum of which light is a part. Actually, the internet is a network of computers that communicate with each other through light signals. Join our booth to get a first impression of the optical phenomenon that forms the basis of our internet.
Researchers: Chayan Bishayee, Zeynep Sena Kulaksız
Write like the Ancient Romans
Do you like graffiti? So did people in ancient Rome! They used to write on the walls of their houses or in the common spaces of their town, either to express their thoughts or to motivate their favourite athletes and politicians. In other words, writing was used both for practical things of everyday life and as a form of artistic expression. Believe it or not, many of their poems, and some are veeeery long, have survived on stones.
Join us to find out even more about ancient Roman writing!
Researchers: Laura Sarli, Stephan Busch, Ana Lemes
A clean fuel without CO2 emissions? Hydrogen is the answer!
Who has not heard of the greenhouse effect produced by CO2 emissions, mostly coming from the use of fossil fuels? But what can we do to fight this effect? In the search for new fuels, we are researching the use of hydrogen as a renewable energy source. Why? Because it is produced from water and its combustion is free of CO2. Join our booth to learn more about how “electrolysers” can produce hydrogen, using nothing more than electricity and water. Come and see for yourself how we can obtain this electricity from our simulated “sun”.
Researchers: María Isabel Díez García, Andres Alberto Garcia Blanco
Cracks in the wall? No worries!
You certainly have cut your finger by accident in the past. You usually don’t need to do anything, and the cut will disappear in just a few days. This is because, as humans, we have a self-healing ability. But do you know concrete can also heal itself? Come to our booth and receive a piece of self-healing concrete so that you can observe the crack healing itself. Just how is this possible? Join us to learn more about how scientists use bacteria to make concrete self-healable! Next time when you see a crack, you know whether to worry or not!
Researchers: Shan He, Maiko Van Leeuwen, Erik Schlangen
Discover Spatial Sound!
How good are you at locating a sound? Can you tell where that annoying beep comes from or which direction the police car is driving? Join us and immerse yourself in the exciting world of spatialised sound through two interactive demonstrations. By researching our ability to navigate and understand our surroundings through sound, our team hopes to advance audio technology and the use of mobile and wearable devices.
Researchers: James Brooks-Park, José Miguel Cadavid Tobón, Paul Didier, Anselm Lohmann
All crazy for archaeology!
You certainly have tried digging on the beach and had fun picking up shells or strange stones from the ground. Archaeologists dig for objects used by humans in the past to try to understand what activities they did, what they ate, and what they thought about the world around them, in short, to reconstruct their history. But they use a scientific method: they do not dig at random or look for treasures.
Do you also want to try digging like an archaeologist and understand how people lived in the past? Roll up your sleeves, grab a trowel and dustpan, and join us!
Researchers: Alessandra Cianciosi, Miguel Busto Zapico
Want to know what happens in your brain when you're in a self-driving car? I do too! I use special tools to check how your brain works and where you're looking when driving. And the best part? I get to have fun in a cool simulator or real self-driving cars and call it work! It's like playing a video game, but in real life. Come check out my research and have some fun with self-driving cars!
Researchers: Nikol Figalova, Yuan-Cheng Liu, Jürgen Pichen
How much is 1 meter? Metrology will tell us!
Metrology is the science of measurement, and it plays a crucial role in our daily lives. From ensuring the accuracy of our clocks and phones to enabling precise scientific experiments, metrology keeps our world running smoothly. We all use metres and seconds in our daily lives, but what exactly are these units of measurement and how or why did they come to be the way they are? Let's find out together!
Researchers: Teodor Daniel Andron, Alkuin Koenig
Mindfulness: why do you need it and how does it work?
Have you ever been so stressed or angry that you felt like you could not think clearly? Then join us to learn more about mindfulness. Through different exercises, you will discover how mindfulness really feels! On a model of the brain, we will show you what parts of the brain change during a mindfulness practice. You will discover how mindfulness helps us to see clearly when we are stressed or overwhelmed in daily life, and you can get resources to help you practice mindfulness at home.
Researchers: Ivana Buric, Danijela Marasović, Marija Gadžić
Mathematics and the race to Mars
The race to Mars is about bringing the first people to our red neighbour planet, one of humanity's greatest and most difficult endeavours. But what makes it so difficult to land on Mars? How do our spaceships need to be designed to safely land on Mars? And what has mathematics to do with it? Join us in the race to Mars and discover the surprising answers to these questions.
Researchers: Julian Koellermeier, Vince Maes, Rik Verbiest
Come play our giant multiplayer time-bound cooperative game where all will be doing tasks to reach the objective of producing a maximum amount of biogas. Be prepared to learn more about how organic waste gets converted into biogas, while juggling red and blue balls. Become the bacteria and archaea inside the reactors. Work together just like they do, 20 people at max can play the game together! So, build your team and let's play Methanopoly.
Researchers: Pau Porras Socias, Raffaello Mattiussi, Kris Anthony Silveira