Physicists  in  a  marquee  on  the  market  square,  showing  experiments  in  department  stores  and  banks, together with modern artists in the former parliament in Bonn and „beamed“ into the magic  show of an  illusionist,  discussing  with  him  the  wonder  world  of  quantum  mechanics.  All  this  would  have sounded rather strange to the ears of German scientists one year ago.

But,  the  Year  of  Physics  2000,  which  was  organised  by  the  German  Physical  Society  (DPG)  and funded  by  the  Federal  Ministry  of  Education  and  Research  (BMBF),  led  to  a  revolution  in  science communication  in  Germany,  formerly  known  as  a  late  starter  in  bringing  science  to  the  people.  The Year  of  Physics  is  the  first  great  event  tipped  off  by  the  initiative  „Wissenschaft  im  Dialog“,  which was  started  by  German  research  organisations  and  the  BMBF  to  promote  the  exchange  between scientists and the general public.

The  Year  of  Physics  attracted  tens  of  thousands  of  people  and  widespread  media  attention,  ranging from German television, the big newspapers like DIE ZEIT or the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, to a numerous variety of radio stations. The international community got to know the project in „Physics Today“ and, last but not least, in the editorial of „nature“, Volume 406, August 24th

In  our  presentation  a  brief  summary  will  be  given  on  the  new  ways  that  were  implemented  to  bring together  scientists  and  the  general  public,  and  on  the  reactions  of  the  people,  the  politicians,  the journalists and the physicists themselves. We will present the tops and flops and discuss how the last ones  can  be  avoided  in  the  future.  The  initiative  „Wissenschaft  im  Dialog“  will  be  introduced  and  a short outlook will be given to 2001, the „Year of Life Sciences“ in Germany.

The Year of Physics comprised five major events, which were located in Bonn and Berlin. Each major event was dedicated to a different physics discipline. Additionally, more than 200 smaller activities took place at schools, universities and research centers all over Germany. These so called „satellite events“ will be discussed together with the problem of integrating them into the whole project. We hope that in the workshop we will find an answer how such big programms can be evaluated in a standard scientific way – that leads to the point were the practioners are longing for the help of the theoreticians.

Iser & Putscher Gmb H is a „Creative Agency for Public Relations“, specialised on science PR, and as such represents the German Physical Society as its professional press office. On behalf of the German Federal  Ministry  of  Education  and  Research  we  are  performing  as  organisers  of  the  Year  of  Physics 2000  and  the  Year  of  Life  Sciences  2001.  Additionally  we  act  as  a  press  office  of  the  initiative „Wissenschaft im Dialog“.
 



 
 


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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

German physicists venture into the department store
The year of Physics 2000 in Germany offered plenty of unusual experiments

Wolfgang Richter   Iser & Putscher GmbH

Physicists  in  a  marquee  on  the  market  square,  showing  experiments  in  department  stores  and  banks, together with modern artists in the former parliament in Bonn and „beamed“ into the magic  show of an  illusionist,  discussing  with  him  the  wonder  world  of  quantum  mechanics.  All  this  would  have sounded rather strange to the ears of German scientists one year ago.

But,  the  Year  of  Physics  2000,  which  was  organised  by  the  German  Physical  Society  (DPG)  and funded  by  the  Federal  Ministry  of  Education  and  Research  (BMBF),  led  to  a  revolution  in  science communication  in  Germany,  formerly  known  as  a  late  starter  in  bringing  science  to  the  people.  The Year  of  Physics  is  the  first  great  event  tipped  off  by  the  initiative  „Wissenschaft  im  Dialog“,  which was  started  by  German  research  organisations  and  the  BMBF  to  promote  the  exchange  between scientists and the general public.

The  Year  of  Physics  attracted  tens  of  thousands  of  people  and  widespread  media  attention,  ranging from German television, the big newspapers like DIE ZEIT or the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, to a numerous variety of radio stations. The international community got to know the project in „Physics Today“ and, last but not least, in the editorial of „nature“, Volume 406, August 24th

In  our  presentation  a  brief  summary  will  be  given  on  the  new  ways  that  were  implemented  to  bring together  scientists  and  the  general  public,  and  on  the  reactions  of  the  people,  the  politicians,  the journalists and the physicists themselves. We will present the tops and flops and discuss how the last ones  can  be  avoided  in  the  future.  The  initiative  „Wissenschaft  im  Dialog“  will  be  introduced  and  a short outlook will be given to 2001, the „Year of Life Sciences“ in Germany.

The Year of Physics comprised five major events, which were located in Bonn and Berlin. Each major event was dedicated to a different physics discipline. Additionally, more than 200 smaller activities took place at schools, universities and research centers all over Germany. These so called „satellite events“ will be discussed together with the problem of integrating them into the whole project. We hope that in the workshop we will find an answer how such big programms can be evaluated in a standard scientific way – that leads to the point were the practioners are longing for the help of the theoreticians.

Iser & Putscher Gmb H is a „Creative Agency for Public Relations“, specialised on science PR, and as such represents the German Physical Society as its professional press office. On behalf of the German Federal  Ministry  of  Education  and  Research  we  are  performing  as  organisers  of  the  Year  of  Physics 2000  and  the  Year  of  Life  Sciences  2001.  Additionally  we  act  as  a  press  office  of  the  initiative „Wissenschaft im Dialog“.
 



 
 


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