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Brussels, 24 September 2010

European Researchers' Night: Science fiction becomes science fact

Beam me up! More than 200 events will be held across the European Union today as part of the sixth annual 'European Researchers' Night', which aims to promote careers in science and research. Around 500,000 people are expected to attend the events, which range from a virtual eco-system disco to laboratory-induced indoor lightning and an exploration of the science – fact and fiction – that lies behind teleportation and invisibility. Star Trek and Harry Potter fans may be surprised to learn that their heroes' disappearing acts are not necessarily pure fantasy.

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "The European Researchers' Night showcases the work of hundreds of brilliant scientists involved in European research and innovation. Support for research and getting more young Europeans interested in science as a career is key to the EU's future competitiveness in the globalised world and creating the sustainable growth and jobs that Europe urgently needs."

Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "The Researchers' Nights are a chance for everyone to see Europe's researchers bringing inspiration and imagination to driving progress in areas from fashion to forensics. Events like this - much more than political speeches - show people that science matters, that science changes everyday lives and that science is fun."

Visitors to European Researchers' Night events across Europe will have the chance to handle sophisticated research equipment, meet researchers and enjoy fascinating demonstrations that bring the world of science to life. More than 600 museums, university campuses and laboratories will open their doors to the public.

Highlights of the hundreds of events which have been organised all over Europe:

  • Italy - The Rome Planetarium will welcome 'Trekkies' and Harry Potter devotees. The scientific principles behind teleportation and invisibility are not mere fantasy: Italian researchers will explain where the line between science fiction and tangible research is currently drawn.

  • Poland - Scientists from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakόw will generate a storm inside a high-voltage laboratory.

  • United Kingdom - The London Natural History Museum has set up special behind-the-scenes tours. Visitors can handle real specimens and take part in demonstrations and discussions with researchers on topics as diverse as the latest techniques for tracking meteorites and the detective work of the museum's forensics team.

  • Germany - In Hamburg, the Felix Mendelssohn Symphony Orchestra will integrate natural sounds and images in a sui generis musical piece to raise awareness of the beauty of biodiversity. Professor Clemens Malich will conduct 80 young musicians to highlight their support for the preservation of endangered species.

  • Spain - In the Royal Botanic Garden Juan Carlos I, in Madrid, pond bacteria will be used to generate electricity and activate an iPod playing Händel's Water Music. Discussions on science fiction related topics, such as machines versus humans, are also planned.

  • Belgium - A DJ will use biodiversity to attract visitors onto the dance floor at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. The venue will be a virtual ecosystem, with species from the North Sea, African rivers and Brussels' urban spaces.

  • Hungary - Young people in Budapest will follow the adventures of a brave heroine who combines chemical compounds to fight an evil wizard. Dance and fashion shows in the Barabas Mansion will complete the theatrical presentation of the Bay Zoltán Foundation for Applied Research.

  • France - The Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology of Besançon will be the scene of a futuristic script.

A full agenda is attached below.


The first European Researchers' Night was organised in 2005. Since then, the number of countries taking part in the initiative has doubled and the number of cities involved has increased tenfold. Last year, 450 000 people attended European Researchers' Night events.

The European Union supports European Researchers' Night through the People Programme. The 2010 events have a budget of € 3.5 million.

The European Researchers' Night is managed by the Research Executive Agency (REA).

Research career development is supported through the Marie Curie Actions, which will have a budget of €772 million in 2011.


Agenda of the Researchers' Night events all over Europe:

EU 2020 Strategy:

People Programme - 7th Framework Programme for Research:

Marie Curie Actions:

Research Executive Agency:

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