The Weekend of Science 2018: A Day in the Cell was a real success with over 700 visitors and 130 employees. The first visitors started to arrive early, well before 11.00. From the moment the event was officially open, people queued in front of the cell. They could put their head inside a huge cell for a one-minute light and sound show that illustrates what happens in a cell. A very small girl almost disappeared in it, only an admiring sigh was to be heard: ‘oooooh’.
Worldfame, a fungus with your name
Among the first ones to arrive were the families that were invited to receive their citizen science award: an official document with a picture of a new fungus including in the scientific name the name of the collectors. Two people came from the far north to receive their certificate. They represented the Nordwin College, a school that took part in the citizen science project Worldfame, a fungus with your name of the Westerdijk Institute.
All participants were very honored with the personal speech of Pedro Crous and their certificate.
Quite a few researchers-to-be arrived at our doors. A little boy came in with a petri dish with a nice fungal and bacterial collection. Two girls came in asking whether there worked doctors inside because one of them wanted to be a physician the other one wanted to be a laboratory technician. An interesting question of an 8 year old girl came up at the zebrafish microscope: do fish shrink with old age? The people were very positive about the living embryos and the beating heart they could see through the microscopes. A very driven researcher at the Fungal stand was a 10-year old boy who came back several times to improve his Fungal Farts. The balloons were not big enough as far as he was concerned. He was doing a real scientific experiment, adding sugar, yeast or water. In case you wonder what teenagers will draw with yeast: the two we saw doing it, drew a rubber ducky.
Three young girls were absorbed for a long time by building DNA with Lego. Of course, making slime at the stand of Our Body was a big hit. For children that is. Their parents had to wait patiently. If they were lucky someone of the stand had time to tell about the very first and the most recent artificial kidney. Or they could have a look at the 3D printer. And after the waiting there, they could continue to make a cell at the Single Cells stand. Most people that visited the organoid stand came out wiser. The volunteers at the stand kept explaining their research until people understood, while eating popcorn (that has a striking similarity with organoids). All in all, the broad variety of activities were well appreciated, including the lab-tours.
Many visitors stayed long and they especially praised the passion of the crew and their tireless willingness to answer questions.