The Science Fair 2018 was our success once again

13. 08. 2018

For the third time, we took part in the Science Fair, a popularization event organized by the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) within the Open Science project. It took place in two halls of the exhibition area PVA EXPO in Letňany part of Prague, from Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th June. Vladimír Semián and Miroslav Dočkal prepared the stand from Wednesday afternoon, with help of Martina Lužová – she arrived to the Fair directly from his stage placement in Dubna institute (Russia) – and thanks to Jaroslav Laufka, which provided us with material and transport. Our stand was relatively small again, but the number of people interested in it was even bigger. Because it was not the first time, the organizers gave free space before the stand enough, which had been proved to be very prudent.

Proven traditions and news

Sometimes, there were four presentations at our stand together: Vladimír Wagner explained the context of nuclear physics and the work of the NPI, Vladimír Semián "played Vacuum Theater", Jakub Šlegl and Martina Lužová from Radiation Dosimetry Department presented "uranium maze" and Miroslav Dočkal showed 3D virtual reality presentation from stratospheric flight of Fík 3 balloon. We did not stop even in the rising afternoon heat that the air conditioning of the hall was not enough to cool down. On Thursday, our co-authors also helped us with the 3D VR presentation: the pupils of the 9th Grammar School in Žamberk Barbora Cabalková, Zdeňka Kalousová, Štěpán Beran and their teacher Jiří Hovorka, with whom we cooperate on the balloon flights. There was also a flight preparation document on the another monitor.

„Virtual reality“ from the 360-degrees pictures of the flight of Fík 3 balloon was prezented with assistence of its co-creators, pupils of the 9th class of the Žamberk´s elementary school

Laboratory of Tandetron technician Vladimír Semián, who again played "Vacuum Theater", took the greatest interest of visitors, as he did last year, showing experiments with a vacuum pump and other equipment to demonstrate the properties of the vacuum. All of our equipment was once again lent to us by one of our suppliers, Pfeiffer company. The experienced presenter V. Semián adapted the interpretation for the age and knowledge of the visitors, so everyone came to their own: blowing the shaving foam and marmalade pieces or boiling water in the vacuum at room temperature until freezing, but also when demonstrating the so-called Magdeburg hemispheres using suction cups, which, after the air was pushed out between them, two children were trying to break apart each other (smaller children hung on the join hemispheres were lifted up by V. Semián). This year we even had real mock-ups of Magdeburg hemispheres, 20 cm in diameter, were trying at our stand – instead of eight pairs of horses in real history – to tear off by eighth of strong men. As in Magdeburg once upon a time, a vacuum was eventually won.

Vladimír Semián of the Laboratory of Tandetron NPI played a "vacuum theatre" once again

On the large screen in the stand were promotional videos about our accelerators and the history of the NPI; there were three posters in comparison with last year: the NPI and our new accelerators (Tandetron 4130 and Cyclotron TR-24) that supplemented the older poster on the history of the institute and the English poster about department of radiation dosimetry. Also new was the publication of our book The Journey to the Core of Matter, published in Academia Publishing House within "Science around us" edition, which we distributed to people deeper interested in the work of the NPI. 

And we were present even in one more way at the Fair. A virtual tour of LVR-15 nuclear reactor facilities took place near our stand, as in the last year. This year, however, in a more attractive and action form, as well as a tour of the Tokamak Compass, working at the Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP CAS).

A headset and special glasses with a Samsung mobile were enough for the feeling of hovering in the gondola balloon several km above the Earth's sur-face.

Visitors from kindergartens and institutes

On Thursday and Friday there were mainly pupils of elementary schools, high schools and university students - including entire classes - on Saturday there were families with children, often pre-school ones. Some pupils and students surprised us by the relatively profound knowledge of the subject and maybe we will see them in our staff over time. A hundreds of visitors have stopped before our stand, watched the experiments and listened the interpretation. Of course, we also took the opportunity to visit our colleagues from other institutes of the CAS.

Jakub Šlegl from the Department of radiation dosimetry NPI performed a "uranium maze"

People who visited the Science Fair did not regret - colleagues from other institutes prepared an interesting program too, some of them in an accompanying lecture block, partly moderated by famous Vaclav Moravec. More information about the event can be found (in Czech language) at