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IOP Holds 2019 Public Science Day

Date:20-05-2019 Print

The 16th Public Science Day of the Institute of Physics (IOP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was held in the Basic Science Park of CAS on May 18. This carnival of physics and science attracted tens of thousands of participants from all over China.

With the theme of "Love Physics, Change the World", the 16th Public Science Day aimed to disseminate the spirit of science, showcase IOP's outstanding achievements in recent years in scientific and technological innovations, and fulfill the social responsibility of scientific research institutions to popularize science and culture. The day was filled with activities, including 11 theme activities represented by the popular science lecture "The Physical Basis of the Industrial Revolution" and the large-scale experimental show "The Miracle of Elements", which presented a scientific feast for the public.

Before the activity began, Cheng Meng, deputy head of the General Affairs Department of IOP, delivered a speech, extending a warm welcome to the participants. He said, "As a scientific research institution, IOP undertakes the major task of scientific research while assuming the social obligation to popularize science."

In the lecture "The Physical Basis of the Industrial Revolution", Prof. Cao Zexian of IOP presented us a wonderful world of physics. With concrete examples such as water pumping in daily life, he told the audience that physics is interesting and useful, satisfying the public's curiosity. From these simple explanations, the audience was able to know how physics permeated our life and how it changed our world.

2019 is the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, as well as the International Year of the Periodic Table. On the open day, Yang Fan (nickname: Zhen-Fengwu Jiutian), the expert in popular science, was invited to perform a large-scale experimental show "The Miracle of Elements", which fully displayed the charm of science. The performance featured various unexpected chemical phenomena that amazed the audience. The performer poured yellow ferric chloride solution into clear tea water, and the tea water became as dark as ink. Halfway through the performance, the performer blended several cups of different chemicals to produce various brilliant colors, which wowed the audience. And the amazing flame produced from the mixed potassium permanganate and glycerin prompted a big round of applause. The audience feasted their eyes on the splendid show and fully enjoyed the performance.

The sharing session "Science is Adorable" was characteristic. IOP invited five guests to the sharing session. Based on their own experience and understanding, the guests talked about life-relevant and adorable aspects of science from photonics revolution, non-Newtonian fluid and other perspectives.

Books are the ladder of human progress. Yin Chuanhong, editor-in-chief of Science and Technology Daily, and Lu Ling, professor of IOP CAS, shared their experience in reading popular science books in the salon "Popular Science Reading". They talked about the importance of reading for improving humanistic and scientific literacy, and encouraged the audience to read more quality books.

There was an education base for Communist Party members on the first floor in Building M of IOP, which attracted a lot of audience. They listened carefully to the explanation of volunteers, learned from the old-generation scientists of the Party members, and took a group photo to mark the occasion. They were deeply moved by the scientific spirit carried on from generation to generation.

Apart from the Basic Science Park, the Liangxiang Campus of Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) was another venue for the event, where a series of activities of Physics Carnival were held by CAS in conjunction with BIT. There were a number of down-to-earth activities such as the Lecture Hall and Running Physics, which introduced physics in an easy-to-understand approach.

In addition to the above special activities, there were many other programs in the park that were open to public all day. The Science Book Fair brought together dozens of publishing companies and thousands of science books, allowing visitors to soak in the ocean of scientific knowledge.

"Zero Distance to Scientific Research" gave visitors the opportunity to have close contact with scientists' laboratories. Guided by volunteers, many children came into scientists' laboratories and listened carefully to the latest scientific knowledge. Although some of them were still muddled, we could see strong curiosity and desire for knowledge in their glowing eyes. This year, IOP opened nearly 30 laboratories, including state key laboratories and CAS key laboratories, so that visitors could closely observe the cutting-edge scientific instruments used by scientists.

"Happy Together in Science" provided a platform for visiting children and adults to experience various scientific experiments together. The site was crowded, and the basketball court of IOP was filled with visitors of different ages competing to experience interesting scientific experiments. Among them, the small laser gun was the most popular with children. The strong laser could detonate a balloon just by pointing at it. Other experiments, such as superconducting maglev, experiential telescopes, 3D printing, crystal and non-crystal demonstrations, were also very popular and attractive to visitors. With the patient explanation of the volunteers, the visitors said that they had understood the principles of these experiments.

The IOP Public Science Day also made a great effort to enhance the visitors' experience. Following the "Physics Map" the year before the last and the "Scientific Tour" last year, this year, every visitor registered could receive a delicate guide of "Elements Exploration" and an emblem of IOP. The design of the event guide was inspired by the black hole, a hot topic this year. One could "open" the black hole to see the periodic table inside, but with some missing elements.  After experiencing all the scientific projects, the visitor would be rewarded with exquisite stickers of relevant elements, including I, O, P and Bi. With all those stickers, the visitor could redeem a "Scientific Gift Pack" jointly provided by IOP, Yuanfudao, and Bilibili. In the process, people learned how the periodic table was developed by scientists and the scientific knowledge of these chemical elements.

On the Public Science Day this year, IOP held a number of "interdisciplinary" activities in the park, such as the physical version of the flash mob "Touch the Sky", injecting youth and vitality into the park. The song told a story of two dark clouds in physics that gave birth to relativity and quantum mechanics a hundred years ago, and finally returned to the present by highlighting that "the future belongs to our new generation with everlasting passion." "The song has a good lyric. It’s about hardcore science, and both the song and the dance are entertaining," the audience said. Long queues were also witnessed at the Bilibili exhibition area in the park, which showcased micron-sized images made with ultra-precision process technology that could only be seen with high-magnification microscopes.

This year, the event was shared for a whole day on many media platforms, including Bilibili, Douyu, Toutiao, and Huya in the form of live streaming for interaction with millions of netizens.  Journalists and anchors also gave an all-round and multi-perspective presentation of the highlights of the event. Thanks to advanced means of communication on the Internet, those unable to come could also participate in this scientific carnival anytime and anywhere to feel the charm of science.

The IOP Public Science Day provided an opportunity for visitors to get close to science, understand the world and have a close contact with frontier scientific research. It also let the visitors know that science is not unreachable and it is all around in our daily life. Many visitors on the site arrived in Beijing overnight from other places, and many were not new participants of Public Science Day. They all said that the IOP Public Science Day was "cool and fun", shortening the distance between scientific research institutions and the general public, adding scientific knowledge to colorful activities, which was very attractive, and they wanted to visit again next year.

Prof. Cao Zexian explains the physical basis of the industrial revolution

"Popular Science Reading" Salon

Visitors at the Education Base for Party Members

Interactive Experiments

Booth of Bilibili

Flash Mob "Touch the Sky"

Scene of the Open Day