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cентябрь-ноябрь
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7–9 октября 2016
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14–16 октября 2016
Центральная региональная площадка
28–30 октября 2016
ИРНИТУ, Сибэскпоцентр
14–15 октября 2016
Центральная региональная площадка
24 сентября – 30 октября 2016
КВЦ «ВертолЭкспо», ДГТУ
сентябрь–ноябрь 2016
Нулевое сентября, Открытая академия,
МВДЦ «Сибирь», СФУ

History of Science Festival

World experience

The 1830s were a turning point in the relationship between science and society. Religious knowledge of the sacred was already limiting for those working in science. As history has shown, realizing the main desire of scientists—to change and improve the world—was not possible without the support of society, without recognition of the creative role of new knowledge in a person's life. At this time, a new form of interaction between scientists and society arose in England. And this was quite natural because 19th-century England was the country in which the creation of knowledge was followed most quickly by its implementation in everyday life. England was ready for the triumph of scientific knowledge and made extensive advances toward its realization.

The British Association for the Advancement of Science was created in September 1831. Its main objectives were to demonstrate to society the role and place of science, to provide organizational and financial support for research, and to disseminate scientific information. Thanks to the efforts of the Association, public lectures, discussions, and demonstrations of research were held, and science gained in popularity. During these events the concept of scientist (scholar) was formulated for the first time, the word dinosaur entered public discourse (1842), and the first public debate about Darwinism was held (1860).

Over time, meetings of scientists and the public attained a new organizational form known as science festivals. In the 20th century science festivals have been held in many European countries as well as in the United States, Canada, and China.

Our country adopted this form of the popularization of science relatively late. The first festival was held in Russia only in 2006. However, because of its range and the level of the academic achievements presented, it was an important event.

Science Festival in Russia

Over the past decades, science festivals have become increasingly popular in many countries around the world, and they are held on nearly every continent. The European Science Events Association (EUSCEA) is supported by the European Commission and at the moment includes 68 organizations that conduct science festivals in 33 European countries, including Russia.

Our country became a full member of the EUSCEA family in 2007, a year after the first Russian Festival of Science. This initiative was carried out by Lomonosov Moscow State University under the leadership of the rector, Academician Victor Sadovnichy. Moscow University  was the pioneer, and by 2008 participants included twenty-seven other universities, three academic institutions, and science museums, including the Technical Museum, which since that time has become one of the most active participants in the Festival. Year after year the number of participants increased, and the geographic scope of the Festival of Science expanded.

The next Festival of Science was held in 2010. It was organized by Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Moscow City Government, and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. Over 100 universities, 14 institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, 7 museums, more than 50 innovative companies, and 10 foreign research centers participated. In addition, the first Festival of Science in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was held as part of the Festival in Moscow. Thus, the Festival of Science performs an additional important function: it aids the integration of schools of science in the post-Soviet sphere and spreads the worthy achievements of Russian science throughout the world. 

It is particularly important that the Festival of Science was held in 14 Russian regions in addition to Moscow. If all the cities and universities that participated are counted, the total is quite an impressive figure. For example, the Festival of Science in Vladivostok was organized by five major universities and institutes of the Far Eastern Branch of the RAS. The Minister of Education and Science Andrei Fursenko, participating in the opening of the Festival in Vladivostok, said, “It is very symbolic that the Festival is starting at this easternmost point and is going from here across the country.” And so it was: the Festival of Science was held in Chelyabinsk, Tomsk, Barnaul, Yoshkar-Ola, Tyumen, Saratov, St. Petersburg, Tobolsk, Penza, Ivanovo, Nizhniy Novgorod, Rostov. ... And each of these cities invited colleagues from neighboring territories to participate in the Festival. Thus, Rostov-on-Don became the center of the Festival of Science in southern Russia.

Locations of the first Festival of Science in the CIS countries

 

The extension of the Festival of Science is not only geographical. The more people who are included in the Festival movement, the greater and the richer it becomes. Each research center, each region adds its findings, its interesting forms of promotion of scientific knowledge, and thus adds new, striking pages to the history of the Festival of Science. In the past it has been possible to see exhibits from, for example,  the I. M. Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas, Russian Peoples' Friendship University, Moscow State Construction University, National Research Nuclear University (MEPHI), Southern Federal University, Far Eastern State Technical University ... and many others. 

It is impossible to list all the participants here. But it is enough to look through the programs from the last Festival of Science to get an idea of the interesting events that took place at various venues. In Rostov-on-Don, for example, the Festival was opened by a carnival procession: students who were made up to look like famous scientists from around the world went through the streets. People recognized the familiar faces and joined the participants, going with them to the Palace of Sports, where the main events were presented: an interactive exhibit, lectures, an “intellectual party” with an abundance of cognitive games and contests, and a theatrical program. The Festival in the Far East not only organized meetings with eminent scientists and entertaining scientific experiments in which the audience could participate but also undertook an interesting case study to determine who came to the Festival and why and what kind of  impression the Festival made on the visitors.

A similar study was conducted during the Festival in Moscow and in Vladivostok. The main results of these inquiries were, first, that people of all ages like the Festival because it is interesting to them; second, and most encouraging, that the desire to learn about the latest achievements of science is the leading motive for visiting the Festival.

Exhibition at the Expocenter

Further experience will help to polish the All-Russian Festival of Science in order to preserve its unity, integrity, and general harmony, and at the same time to ensure the uniqueness of the event in each region. The Festival of Science may be one of the few holidays that truly unites different generations, different cultures, and different nations. This is because science has no borders! Nowadays the Festival of Science involves all of Russia, and it depends on all of us to make the event a real holiday, a celebration of science. It is in our common interest to do so because our country has a future only if people value and develop science and young people want to work in science. The Festival  of Science is one of the most powerful levers for the realization of this task!

Do you want to be the organizer of the Festival in your city?

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