Section: Campus Life
"ETH for All" invites everyone into the "Worlds of Knowledge"|
ETH in the spotlight
What happens when an earthquake happens? How does a building collapse? What happens when an avalanche occurs and how can polluting particles in the air be made visible? These and a plethora of other questions will be answered during the theme fortnight of the anniversary feature "ETH for All" in a dialogue between the public, scientists and researchers. A total exhibition area of 3,000 square metres has to be taken care of and managed.
By Regina Schwendener
From 22nd April to 8th May some of the most prominent landmarks in Zurich will be stepping outside their everyday existences. Platzspitz Park, the Swiss National Museum and Main Station, as well as parts of the inner city, will become entrances to the "Worlds of Knowledge", where ETH and the population at large can meet and interact. With the recent issue of a special postage stamp and the first anniversary feature, "ETH on the Road", ETH has already been attracting attention all over Switzerland to its anniversary "150 Years ETH Zurich". The official start is on 21st April under the motto "ETH for All". ETH will be celebrating this day with guests from politics, industry and culture, and with the public.
Engaging all senses
From 5 pm to 7 pm an aperitif will be offered to all-comers in the central hall of the Main Station to witness the setting in motion of the ETH locomotive. The following day, the 22nd April (10 am to 8 pm) the "Worlds of Knowledge" will open in specific places of Zurich's inner city, in the grounds of the Swiss National Museum, in Platzspitz Park and at the Main Station. Visitors will be able to ask questions, meet professors and find out about their areas of research, do research for themselves or gain a little hands-on experience. Swiss Radio DRS will be reporting live on from locations of the exhibition throughout the fortnight.
Gabrielle Attinger from ETH Corporate Communication's Jubilee service team says, "When visitors meander through the 'Worlds of Knowledge' all of their senses will be engaged. If they let themselves be drawn in they will quickly realise that science actually does have a connection with their daily lives and that it can be explained." One exhibit expected to attract a lot of interest is a white tunnel in the hall of the Main Station, 30 metres long and seven metres in diameter, which will lead to the latest forms of information technology. If visitors continue on their way towards the Swiss National Museum, Platzspitz Park and the inner city they will also be able to view science from the scientists' point of view. For example, they will see what it's like to work with a telescope, track down solar flares with the radio telescope, or even listen to the sun. Earthquakes will be simulated using Lego and building blocks and in the no. 11 tram passengers can find out which regions of Zurich have the most polluted air. The biodiversity board game also promises to be exciting, a game that demonstrates the interdependence of biodiversity, topology and the impact of agriculture.
150 professors will be present in on the event stage at the Swiss National Museum or in one of the pavilions around the city (Bellevue by the lakeside, Werdmühleplatz and Hechtplatz) in order to give the population the opportunity to meet them and talk to them. Over 430 lectures are on the menu on such themes as natural medicines or food safety. Scientists from ETH will also be presenting their current work and experiments.
Last, but not least, it's the turn of the "3 Ks" Kinder (children), Kultur (culture) and Küche (kitchen). There will be workshops, games and amusements of an enlightening and instructive character for children of 8 years or over. 4–8-year olds can dissipate their energy in the «Kinderwelt». Nor will refreshments or cultural events, which will take place of the event stage in the courtyard of the Swiss National Museum, will be missing.
Getting ready for a lot of visitors
All this and more besides calls for a lot of preparation, work power and partners who are busy in the background for the moment but who will soon be on the front: advertising, taking care of children and visitors, cleaning, security "We're will enough equipped to cope with about 9,000 visitors a day," says Domenico Bernabei from the service team.
Once the first of the many expected visitors make their way over the 5000 m2 coloured PVC floor covering, which connects all exhibits, the service team will have been working in the background for a year to set up a professional infrastructure that makes a flexible and suitable management of the events at all possible.
In addition to the preparations surrounding publicity and media information–including the creation of a poster highlighting certain events–the service team members were asked to supply 150 kilos of potatoes, exhibit cases, artificial lamps to shine on the plants and an audio station with at least four headsets for the project "Agricultural Research to Relieve Poverty". For another project, «swinging» and "sinking" houses, they had to come up with a fork-lift truck, a DSL internet connection, two plastic containers filled with fine sand and a vibrating table. For their project «Black Specks in the Sky» the exhibitors needed an optical telescope as well as a radio telescope at the location and expected to find the necessary infrastructure. And the project «marble avalanche» was even more demanding; not only did they have to conjure up a slope but also marbles of differing weights and build galleries too.
Assistants from ETH institutes will be helping the professors with their presentations and in the supporting programme of the pavilions. Security and cleaning have been outsourced. In addition, around 70 helpers – mostly students and 20 apprentices from ETH Zurich and the companies Siemens and Rieter – will be working on a variety of tasks for ten or eleven hours a day. Domenico Bernabei says, "The helpers' tasks range from looking after VIPs and greeting visitors to the distribution of flyers and giving guided tours to groups and individuals. Around 200 helpers will be in action every day".
The setting-up of the "Worlds of Knowledge" will begin already on 1st April. All in all it will cover roughly 3,300 square metres and include 120 PCs and 3,000 metres of cable. The infrastructure also includes eleven containers, for use as a press office for Radio DRS, for example, or as storage or rest rooms. Dismantling the whole thing will be much quicker. Immediately following the end of the exhibition on 8th May workers will move in and by 13th May at the latest the "Worlds of Knowledge" will have disappeared from Platzspitz Park – but it is to be hoped that the memory of it will live on in Zurich and the minds of the population.
Matthias Erzinger, head of the Jubilee service team, says, "If we succeed in transmitting the engagement and enthusiasm of the researchers to the visitors, we will have achieved our most important goal. After the event the population should remember 14 very special days in Platzspitz Park, thus removing once and for all the images of 'NeedlePark'. I hope that afterwards the public will continue to seek out the 'worlds of knowledge' at ETH, too".
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