Polish science centres open their doors to the public
Dozens of Polish science centres and institutions opened their doors to the public for one day as part of an initiative under the slogan “connecting people with science.” It was the first event of its kind promoting science to a wider Polish audience that was organised on such a large scale.
The SPIN initiative (the initials of which in Polish are short for the Agreement Between Society and Science) is a unique project organised by Polish institutions with the aim of popularising science. In total, 23 institutions took part, including education and science centres, museums, universities as well as associations that provide interactive exhibitions and organize events promoting knowledge. Together they agreed that they would connect people with science by organising projects together across Poland and adopting a common position in calling for more funding for new projects.
The main aim underpinning the initiative is to help develop a society that is grounded in education, science, technology and innovation. This means encouraging creative and critical thinking, which the institutions under the SPIN umbrella all support. The institutions are strengthened by their very wide reach – each year attracting over 2.5 million visitors.
“We want to show people across Poland the advantages of having a diversified education environment, demonstrating its potential and mutual benefit,” said Tomasz Michalski of the Rzeszow-based Explores Association, who developed the idea behind the SPIN initiative. “It is a way of showing people on a local level the immense potential of education centres, that these centres can create amazing ideas which benefit a very large audience,” he said.
The biggest and unprecedented joint event organised by the SPIN coalition was the unprecedented SPiN Day, held on 12 September 2015. At 27 locations across Poland, events popularising science took place, including exhibitions, shows, lectures and workshops. The common thread connecting all events was the sharing of experiences between ordinary SPINers.
At the Belchatow PGE City Culture Centre, “Giants of Power” viewers and animators joined forces to create a model bucket wheel for an excavator. At the same time, Bialystok Polytechnic held lectures on 3D and 4D virtual reality. At the Ciekawski Foundation in Bydgoszcz, visitors participating in science workshops ventured into the unknown: gleaning new information about low and high temperatures, light and colour, sounds and soap bubbles. Ornithological workshops were held at the Silesian Park Foundation in Chorzów, whilst at Gdynia’s Centre for Experimental Science visitors learned how to build toys. Guests attending lectures at the Silesian University in Katowice were able to admire the "The Beauty of the Nano and Micro-World.” Meanwhile, at the Kielce Technology Park, visitors learned how electricity is generated. At the Beskid Centre for Science in Zywiec, curious onlookers were taught how an engine works.
The Museum of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow held an interactive exhibition about numbers. Astronomical observations and demonstrations were available in the Olsztyn Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory, in the EC1 Łódź - City of Culture centre and at the Regional Education Development Centre near Opole.