Night of Science at Campus Riedberg

A Celebration of Discovery

June 21, 2024

On Friday, June 21, the Riedberg campus was illuminated by the Night of Science. Organized annually by students of the Goethe University, this event invited visitors to embark on a nocturnal journey of scientific exploration from 5 p.m. until the early hours of the morning. This year's program featured more than 80 lectures, with researchers presenting a wide range of topics. The Max Planck Institute for the Brain participated with two lectures and a food truck, all of which drew large and appreciative crowds.

The Night of Science (NoS), which began in 2006 as a protest against the introduction of tuition fees at Hessian universities, has grown into a major event. Initially held in just three lecture halls at Frankfurt's Goethe University, the NoS expanded to include events at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Physical Society.

This year's program featured topics ranging from the transformative power of scales, the mysteries of DNA, and the physics of soccer to the importance of disgust, the impact of toxins, the challenges of Long Covid, and climate change. Several of the talks were given in English to accommodate an international audience.

The lectures were complemented by a lively program of activities, including robot soccer and glider demonstrations. More than 30 initiatives and groups showcased their work at various booths, and guided tours offered a behind-the-scenes look at scientific research. Attendees also enjoyed refreshments and a steady supply of coffee throughout the night.

The event kicked off at the University with a keynote address by Professor Johanna Stachel, a renowned nuclear and particle physicist from Heidelberg who is involved in the ALICE "Big Bang Project" at CERN. Soon after, the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, a regular contributor to the Night of Science, presented two talks, one on the fascinating biology of the naked mole rat (Dori Grijseels & Julian Burger, Barker Lab) and the other on research into RNA and proteins in the brain (Marcel Jüngling, Schuman Lab). Both lectures were well attended and many visitors stayed to meet the speakers and ask questions. The Institute's bistro food truck in front of the lecture hall kept visitors fed until midnight.

Each year, the Night of Science organizing team chooses a figurehead to inspire the event. This year, they chose physicist Lise Meitner. Born in Vienna in 1878, Meitner became the first female physics professor in Germany in 1926. Despite facing discrimination and challenges due to her gender and Jewish heritage, her groundbreaking work in radioactivity and nuclear fission remains monumental. While her colleague Otto Hahn won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944, Meitner's contributions are celebrated and remembered today.

Go to Editor View