PoL at the Long Night of Science: Igniting Passion for Research in Dresden

Over 50 volunteers from PoL took part in the 21st Long Night of Science on Friday the 14th June, with huge turnout from the public.

A bunch of children and adults are clustered around a table playing with art supplies
The Long Night of Science took place on the 14th of June, and over 2,300 people visited the CMCB this year.
© TUD/Magdalena Gonciarz

Earlier this month, the 21st Long Night of Science (Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften) took place, highlighting the diversity and activities of Dresden’s science community. Members of the public were welcomed into renowned scientific institutions to showcase groundbreaking research and ignite a passion for science, especially amongst younger visitors. As one of the largest celebrations of science in Dresden,  an impressive array of research avenues were showcased, and the evening featured numerous interactive exhibitions.

Thanks to the dedication of over 50 volunteers from the Cluster of Excellence Physics of Life (PoL),  and partner institutions on the Johannstadt campus, an exciting program was brought to life for visitors from 5 PM until midnight. As a family-friendly event, children were encouraged to engage with scientific games, presentations, and posters. PoL researchers showcased their work at three separate locations during the event: the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), and Technische Sammlungen Dresden.

Under the intriguing title of “How do cells self-organize into a living organism?”, the exhibits at the CRTD and MPI-CBG explored core research questions being answered at PoL. Researchers from the groups of Ellen Adams, Adele Doyle, Marcus Jahnel, Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich, Elias Barriga, and Xingbo Yang were located at the CRTD. Next door, PoL researchers from the groups of Rita Mateus, Otger Campàs, and Miki Ebisuya volunteered at the MPI-CBG. Together they highlighted the collaborative nature of PoL research, where experts from physics, biology, and computer science come together to understand life from a physics perspective. Key topics included the physical principles behind cellular arrangement in the body, cellular communication in organ formation, and the influence of physical laws on DNA and the heart's positioning.

Researchers were on hand to discuss their work and answer questions, fostering a direct connection between the public and the scientific community. A Science Slam took place in English, with the motto “five minutes, one topic, endless possibilities” at the CRTD. 7 participants competed to fascinate audiences with their research topics, with a prize of 300 euros sponsored by the Friends and Patrons of Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden e.V. up for grabs. Dr. Stefan Golfier (Diez and Kröger groups, B CUBE) moderated the evening, and saw participants deliver wonderful talks, making a tough decision for the jury to choose a winner. Ultimately, PoL researcher Marina Marchenko (Ebisuya group) won the science slam. Massive congratulations to Marina and all participants! 

The event was the culmination of four months of meticulous preparation by organizers and volunteers. Over 2,300 guests visited the CMCB this year, reflecting the community's strong interest in scientific exploration.

Thank you to everyone who participated and made this year’s Long Night of Science a resounding success!