I believe that science is an integral part of the culture of a place (unless you are looking at a very strict definition of culture). I think this is particularly true for a town like Sonderborg that is dominated by big engineering companies such as Danfoss and Linak, as well as the smaller scientific companies at Alsion and the Mads Clausen Entrepreneur Park (while not forgetting the university). However, I have seen little outside of work/education that is concerned with bringing science to life – admittedly, I am newish to the area so feel free to point me in the right direction!
I have thought a bit about the science events I have attended over the years that have aimed to bring science to life. There has been the Cheltenham Science Festivals, Bright Club, SciBarCamb, Bite-Sized Lectures (which I helped organise) and Cafe Scientifique. Most of these events require a lot of planning (science festival) and/or a long-term commitment (event series). The one which is different from the rest was SciBarCamb. It still requires a decent amount of planning, but with no long-term commitment it can serve as a launching pad for other ongoing projects, if the interest is there.
What is SciBarCamp?
You might be familiar with the concept of un-conferences, or barcamps, or foocamps from elsewhere. For one day, or a weekend, people with an interest in a topic meet up. There is no planned programme in advance. It is the people who attend who decide on the programme: At the beginning of the event the attendees suggest sessions they would like to have, and after an informal voting procedure, the sessions are put into a schedule for the rest of the duration.
SciBarCamp is a similar concept which brings together people interested in science. Last year I attended the first SciBarCamb in Cambridge (UK) and it was an activity bringing together scientists working in universities and industry, science publishers, but also artists and fiction writers who deal with the subjects of science. Sessions ranged from the relation between science and music, data archiving, and the future of publishing, to singing science songs, the use of science in fiction, and making DNA out of ballons! It brought together people who, although working in related fields, would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet and exchange views and ideas as their work doesn’t overlap as much.
I would be more than happy to see a similar event in Sonderborg. However, organising any event on your own is no fun. This is especially so for a newcomer to the region. So if you would be interested in helping out with the organisation (finding a location for the event, maybe some nibbles for the duration, encouraging people to come along and other practical things), are interested in attending, or in any way have anything to say about it (maybe you organise something similar, or another science-based event?) do leave a comment on this post. I do not have any idea for a date as yet (maybe sometime in the Autumn or Spring?), but if we want this to happen we need to start now. Is anyone with me on this?