Number of the Month: 30 pubs and bars

Enjoying an after-work beer while listening to research projects being explained

What role does science play in our everyday lives? Why in fact is basic research necessary? What is life as a scientist really like? Questions such as these were put to physicists, chemists and biologists from the University of Hamburg in mid-October 2015 in a somewhat unconventional setting: in the pub. “Knowledge on Tap” was the name of this event which saw around 30 pubs and bars throughout Hamburg transformed into places of science.

Serious topics in a light-hearted atmosphere

In a relaxed and casual atmosphere, while listeners enjoyed a beer or a soft drink, each researcher spent 30 minutes giving a vivid description of their everyday work in the lab. One of them talked about lasers and black holes, another about nanoparticles, and a third about proteins and dark matter, Higgs boson particles and quarks.

Fascinating research for science aficionados

The idea did not originate in Germany but was brought back by Professor Jan Luis from the University of Hamburg’s II Institute for Theoretical Physics following a visit to Tel Aviv: “Science on Tap”, as the event is known there, is a firm fixture and great success at the Weizmann Institute of Science. “The aim is to get people enthusiastic about science in an unconventional and relaxed atmosphere – and to show them how fascinating research can be and why it is important to conduct research on a particular subject”, says Professor Louis. “After all, science is part of our culture”, he continues. This is the basic philosophy that “Knowledge on Tap” reflects.

Strong scientific partners

“Knowledge on Tap” was organized by the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), The Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI) cluster of excellence, the Particles, Strings and the Early Universe (SFB 676) collaborative research centre and the Physics Department at the University of Hamburg, as well as by PIER, the strategic partnership between DESY and the University of Hamburg, in cooperation with the Science Slam Hamburg.

“Knowledge on Tap”

From the lab to the pub is the slogan of the “Knowledge on Tap” event, in which researchers explain their projects in a relaxed atmosphere. The event took place in Hamburg on 15 October 2015.