“We want to make science accessible”: Week of Czech Academy of Sciences kicks off

The week of the Czech Academy of Sciences started on Monday, commencing six days of programming that presents the latest and most important findings of modern scientific research in Czechia. Around 400 events are taking place in 22 locations around the country. Eliška Zvolánková from the press department of the Academy of Sciences told me more.

“The week of the Czech Academy of Sciences tries to bring the best and most recent research and its results to the broadest audience. To do so, we offer many lectures, exhibitions, workshops, movies with discussions, games, and science shows.”

Can you point to a couple examples of the type of programming that will be presented this year?

“The core of the program is that we invite people to open days at the institute. People can explore the buildings, go to the labs, and learn more about what the recent research means for society. We also encourage people to talk with the scientists, so this is a unique opportunity for people to ask their questions at the institutes or mini lectures.

Photo: Czech Academy of Sciences

“Most of the lectures are in Czech, but there are some in English – like at the Institute of Molecular Genetics, they will be offering a whole slew of programming in English. Also, the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, they have a list of excursions for English speaking high schools, and also there are many lectures on things like fluids in motion, or the brain under a microscope. There is also a film people can see, called ‘Let There Be Light’, which is in Czech with English subtitles.”

For those who aren’t so familiar or comfortable with science, this sounds like a really great opportunity for people to engage with the material that might seem difficult to reach or understand?

Photo: Czech Academy of Sciences

“That is very correct. This is also a challenge for scientists, because they have a really high level of expertise, and it is a challenge to explain this to people, because we really want to make science understandable to the broadest possible audience. Therefore, we do things like chemical experiments in order to dig deep into science and really help people to get to know it.”

Why is it important for science to be accessible to the public?

“Science is all around us, and it’s important for us to know how it influences our lives, or what it can bring to society. Scientists have a lot of knowledge and they have the ability to help in times of crisis – we saw that during Covid, for example. From our point of view, it is really important for people to know about scientific results and understand them, so they can get excited about scientific results and support science in the long term.”

Photo: Czech Academy of Sciences