'Science celebrities' rock the red carpet at festival launch
The annual Shanghai Science Festival was unveiled over the weekend, with big names in the field of science from home and abroard walking the red carpet, together with three teens who won the title of Junior Edison.
The "scientist celebrities" included researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, designers from major national scientific projects, technical experts from mighty corporations, and a foreign scientist.
Professor Garik Israelian, an astrophysicist at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (Spain), also the creative director of the STARMUS Festival in Norway, said he is very happy to be in Shanghai.
"We and the STARMUS Festival have been in New York, Moscow, Los Angeles, and London many times but it's the first time in Asia," the professor said. "Doing a science festival is the best way to reach the public in general — to go to children, to go to schools and the more science festivals you have, the better you can create the bridge between society and science."
Dr Rawin Raviwongse, director of the National Science and Technology Museum of Thailand, who also arrived in Shanghai for the first time, told Shanghai Daily that the museum has a long relationship with Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, and that the two have developed some programs together, such as activities and exhibition exchanges. "We will be strong partners in the future," Dr Raviwongse said.
"People always look at the stars, musicians or the famous through this kind of activity (red carpet). But I think it's time for scientists to be recognized as famous so the children will be inspired," Dr Raviwongse added. "If you are a scientist, if you work in science and technology, you can have this kind of opportunity."
Daniel Vincent McCarthy, the co-founder and CEO of The Festival of Curiosity — Dublin’s annual international festival of science, arts, design and technology — says that curiosity is the first step towards discovery. "I think it's really important for Shanghai to have a science festival because it brings all the works of scientific research to the people in Shanghai and shows science and technology."
Science Night, a brand activity of Shanghai Science Festival, is also very popular with kids and their parents.
At the science and technology museum Saturday night, visitors enjoyed scientific projects and games at the booths of domestic and overseas organizations and companies on the ground floor.
Meanwhile, a speech on Antarctic expeditions was also given on the fourth floor by researchers from the Polar Research Institute of China who returned from Antarctica.
Liu, who took her 12-year-old son to the Science Night activities, told Shanghai Daily that he is fond of Lego creations, robots and paper plane games in his daily life, so the events there matched his interests.
"It'll be very nice if the museum can have some night events at the weekend," Liu added.
This year the Science Night series will be expanded to some other science education venues during the summer vacation and National Day holiday, including Oriental Land, Changfeng Ocean World and Shanghai Ocean Aquarium.
Events are also organized across the city to promote innovation and education in science and technology.
In Minhang District, a robot dance performance, drone flying competition and awards for outstanding start-ups featuring scientific and technological innovation kicked off the district's science festival on Saturday.
Wu Bin, vice governor of the district, said there would be more than 100 activities held in the following week, including special science festivals for employees, university students and teenagers.
The district’s science and technology commission also signed an agreement with Metro operators to make the trains and stations into platforms for spreading scientific knowledge and innovative ideas.