16th SciFY Academy | Newton
"The Power of God"
On Thursday 15 of December, SciFY's team organized alongside NCSR "Dimokritos" and INNOVATHENS Hub of Innovation & Entrepreneurship of The Municipality of Athens, the 16th SciFY Academy, where the dramatized documentary produced by Eugenides Foundation and directed by Panos Anestis "Newton, the Power of God" was projected and then followed a discussion with the film makers and researchers of "EKEFE Dimokritos".
In festive and christmas spirit, in the last SciFY Academy for 2016, came students, young researchers, and people who were interested in learning about the life and the work of Sir Isaak Newton, to watch the documentary "Newton, The Power of God" and to participate in the discussion about the stereotypes regarding scientists and researchers, their interaction with society and ways for better dissemination of the results of science to public.
In the beginning, the event started with Dr Giannakopoulos, who talked about the collaboration between SciFY and EKEFE Dimokritos and presented some projects that were developed by this collaboration, such as Newsum and PServer.
Later, followed the projection of the documentary accompanied with pop-corn. The interest was great since by watching this extraordinary documentary we had the chance to see aspects of the work and his personality less known to public.
After the end of the projection, followed a discussion. The panel of speakers consisted of : Dr George Giannakopoulos Technical Director in SciFY & Researcher in the Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications of NCSR Dimokritos, Lida Arnellou Doctor of Science Communication at the University of Peloponnese, Dimitris Petakos Doctor of History of Science at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panos Anestis screenwriter/director, Historian of Sciences and Ph.D. in the Department of Cinema at APT and Vasilis Konstandoudis Physicist, Doctor, Researcher at the Microelectronics Institute of NCSR Dimokritos.
Regarding the stereotypes that exist for scientists and researchers even today, Ms. Leda Arnellou mentioned the example of David Gijbels. In the early 80's he went to schools and told the children to paint a scientist in a white paper. What the children painted was a bearded man with a white robe, around objects such as test tubes, a skeleton, books, a computer and the DNA chain. It has been repeated since then, the same, between the ages of 5 and 19 in various countries of the world, and what is observed is that all children of any age, all over the world, are painting the same.
Speakers, among other things, about how stereotypes affect us, reported that images are affecting us. Science is perceived as something outside society. Children do not want to become scientists because it is difficult. There is still today the hierarchy between scientific disciplines.
Regarding the role of woman in science, Leda Arnellou said that the scientist is always portrayed as a man, and if it is a woman then it has been painted by a woman. In the film, the woman's role is more psychoanalytic, as the director of the documentary Panos Anestis said, as Newton's mother, abandoned him and returned after years having other children as well.
When asked how scientists see themselves in society, Mr. Vasilis Konstandoudis, preferred the term researcher by the term scientist and mentioned as a student. Who must leave arrogance and selfishness and come closer to society. He pointed that scientific methodology should be more sociocentric. Dr George Giannakopoulos added that the science center is a community like any other community, with its particularities, policy, working environment.
Following the debate, the need for a better link between science and society was emphasized. The collaboration and interaction with other specialties and parts of society. An example mentioned by Mrs Leda Arnellou is the zooniverse in which everyone is allowed to participate in an investigation or to make their own. Also, Mr. Petakos has mentioned that historically, farmers, fishermen, professionals in general in a field, had better know-how than the researchers trying to see in their field. Moreover, Dr. Giannakopoulos stated that it is a mistake to try solving a problem, without asking the ones that have it. The particularities of a society must be respected and it is very important to identify the real needs and not to generate other needs.
As a conclussion, mr Petakos said that it is the scientist's obligation to study thoroughly. Ms Arnellou stated, that the internet is an ocean of information whereas there is also misinformation, so the existence of tools, criteria is essential, so that the facts are crosschecked from various sources in the future.
We sincerely thank all the speakers and contributors of the documentary that attended the event, INNOVATHENS and of course all those who came up with very interesting comments and questions and mainly because they contributed once more to realizing our vision of free dissemination of knowledge!
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