Thousands of scientists gather in Vienna every year to network and to present and discuss their research at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV). Aside from a packed and diverse programme for scientists at the meeting, the EGU also organises events aimed at the local Viennese public, as well as a few public engagement events and sessions for scientists at the ACV.
Night at the museum: EGU Public Lecture
Since 2018, the EGU organises a public lecture at the Vienna Natural History Museum for the wider public in Vienna. The EGU Public Lecture provides insight into a topic in the Earth, planetary and space sciences of interest to a broad audience, aiming to bridge the gap between the scientists at the Austria Center Vienna and the local Viennese community.
This year’s lecture will be delivered by Insa Thiele-Eich, a meteorologist and climate scientist at the University of Bonn who has been training since April 2017 to become the first
female German astronaut in space. Her lecture for the Viennesse public (in German) is titled ‘Vom Alltag zwischen Atmosphäre und Orbit – ein Bericht‘ and will take place on 11 April.
For more information about the EGU Public Lectures, please contact the EGU Media and Communications Manager at media[at]egu.eu. If you are a member of the Viennese public interested in attending the lecture, free of charge, you can sign up to attend on the Museum website. If you are a scientist, feel free to spread the word to anyone you might know in Vienna who could be interested.
Bringing EGU to schools in Vienna
This year, for the first time, the EGU is also organising an activity targeted at school students in Vienna. The event at the Vienna International School will teach the students (grades 10 and 11) about how 3D virtual reality can be used to explore Italy’s active volcanoes and other geological landscapes.
“We want to interact more with local communities and bring the work of the EGU geoscientists closer to the school children of Vienna,” says Giuliana Panieri one of the members of the EGU Outreach Committee. She, together with committee member Mathew Stiller-Reeve, are charge of organising the school event.
Fabio Bonali demonstrating the use of 3D goggles to explore geology-relevant landscapes (Credit: Fabio Bonali)
Each year the EGU awards grants to one or two special public engagement activities so they can continue their outreach to different audiences outside research. In 2018, one of the grants was won by Fabio Luca Bonali and his team to further develop virtual reality tools to help engage high-school and first-year university students with motor disabilities with the Earth sciences. Fabio is a post-doc researcher at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DISAT) at the University of Milano-Bicocca who co-founded the outreach organisation GeoSocial Science & Media.
During the EGU General assembly, Fabio and members of the EGU Outreach Committee will visit the International School in Vienna to tell them more about Fabio’s fabulous work.
The event (in English) is taking place at the Vienna International School on Tuesday 9 April. EGU will use the feedback from the activity to explore new possibilities to expand these events to other schools in Vienna. “We will continue to offer the opportunity to the public engagement grant winners to connect them with schools to communicate their passion to the next generation of scientists and leaders,” says Mathew Stiller-Reeve.
EGU is testing out this concept in English this year. However, if you are a teacher at a German-speaking school in Vienna and would like to connect with this initiative in the future then please get in touch with Mathew (mast[at]norceresearch.no) and Giuliana (giuliana.panieri[at]uit.no).
Public engagement at the ACV
Aside from the public engagement activities for the local public, the EGU meeting will also feature a number of outreach and education sessions at the meeting. Scientists interested in doing more public engagement work, should check the sessions in the Educational and Outreach Sessions and Short Courses programme groups. We would also recommend checking the list of sessions, selected by EGU communications staff, that are of interest to those involved or wanting to be involved in science communication, outreach and education.
Virtual reality demos
The EGU & Friends exhibition area will also have a special addition this year! Fabio and his team will set up their virtual reality equipment near the booth for EGU delegates to test out and discuss how VR can be used in geoscience research and outreach. You can find the programme below:
Virtual reality for geohazard and geological studies
Run by: Fabio L. Bonali, Elena Russo, Malcolm Whitworth, Benjamin van Wyk de Vries, Paraskevi Nomikou, Danilo Reitano and Susanna Falsaperla
Time: networking slot, 18:00-19:00
Location: virtual reality station by the EGU Booth (in Hall X2, Brown Level/Basement)
- Monday: Krafla eruptive fissures (Northern Volcanic Zone, Iceland)
- Tuesday: Metaxa Mine and Late Bronze Age (Minoan) eruption (Santorini, Greece)
- Wednesday: Active rift-transform junction (Northern Volcanic Zone, Iceland)
- Thursday: The Lemptégy Volcano geopark (Auvergne, France)
Additionally, this year at the General Assembly, the EGU early career scientist (ECS) representatives are organising a scavenger hunt-style activity, Navigating the media maze, aimed to give participants a fun and interactive experience in engaging with the media about research. The activity is comprised of three stages involving small tasks and meet-up with volunteers around the conference centre.
“We understand that the General Assembly is full of scientific sessions, short courses, networking and catching up with friends and colleagues. Which is why we made the Media Maze engaging, fun and it won’t take too much of your time,” said Stephanie Zihms, the Union-level ECS rep and on of the organisers of the activity.
If you are interested in taking part in the initiative, you can find more information on the event and how to register through this form. Deadline is 2 April.
By Bárbara Ferreira, Giuliana Panieri, Mathew Stiller-Reeve, and Olivia Trani
The EGU General Assembly will take place from 07 to 12 April 2019 in Vienna, Austria. For the full session programme and more information on the General Assembly, see the EGU 2019 website and follow us on Twitter (#EGU19 is the official conference hashtag) and Facebook.