Science Slam Cologne, Germany #1 (Part 1)

by Oliver Adria on 15/05/2010

scienceslam2Today was finally the first Science Slam in Cologne! After anxiously waiting for a couple of weeks for the event to finally take place – right after work I went to this cool event which took place under the tracks of the Cologne Main Station (it’s a really cool location – coincidentally, I have spent some late party nights there in the past few months).

Science Slam is a presentation format, where scientific research (such as a bachelor thesis or a research project) can be presented. The presenter has a maximum of 10 minutes (with an option of a 3-minute extension if approved by the audience) and should show his research/science subject in an entertaining way.

Since I didn’t know how crowded it was going to be like (since Science Slam only started in Germany pretty much exactly a year ago – in May of 2009 – and this is the first time it was held in Cologne) I went there early and arrived more than half an hour before it would start. I was one of the first to arrive. When I went into the cave-like hall I took a seat right in the first row in order to get a good view of all the presentations. I shortly said hello to the organiser who had gotten me on the guest list a day before, because I promoted the event so much on Facebook and whatnot. I was just excited that this sort of event would find its way to Cologne!

At about 8 PM the room started really filling up and by the time the moderator of the evening (he is an actor from one of Cologne’s theaters) opened the event at about 8.15 PM the hall was really filled. For such a niche event this was quite a turnout – must’ve been about 160 people there; a quite young crowd, about evenly split between girls and guys and I assume many of them have scientific backgrounds and are still at university. I saw no suits there!

scienceslam2_smallThe drawing to set the order of the presenters. As you might notice, the setting is more laid-back and fun-oriented :-)

Before everything started, they asked for 10 jury members to give points to the different presentations. I didn’t think about it long and was jury member nr. 4. What I was told afterwards was that I would need to find 9 other people to join me as a group to give an “overall” rating. So 10 jury members had to each find 9 more people. So all in all, 100 people would vote for the presentations, this was to stimulate a conversation in the audience. After a short second to think about it, I think most of the people were open to this idea – and found it quite entertaining even. And so the first presentation began…

Stay tuned for Part 2 in a few days!

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