RESOLV at ACHEMA 2015

ACHEMA Exhibition, 2015 Frankfurt

Day 1, Construction
Construction. Trouble. These are the words, that come to my mind, as I enter the exhibition hall. Wooden cases, ladders, posters, packing materials, technical exhibits everywhere. And noise. Here I’m passing a noisy drill, there someone is hammering. I cannot go through, I have to take a detour. But where is our booth?

It is Sunday morning and I am in Frankfurt at the exhibition ACHEMA. I only had 30 minutes delay in the three-hours long journey. That’s quite good of the railway, isn’t it?
After I had found my way to the enormous Day of stand constructionexhibition grounds, and had reached the right exhibition hall 9.2, now I am searching for the RESOLV exhibition stand C82. It must be somewhere at the back. I struggle through the junks on the passageways, and I try to remember the design of the stand that I saw in a presentation half a year ago…
There it is! I read “RESOLV” on a light banner and think: “Oh, constructed already!” Actually, I came here this early to unpack and set this special eye-catcher together with the stand-builder, so that I could help him and also learn how to do it for next time. But it seems he has already finished it. It looks definitely good from the gangway, and it is also eye-catching from a distance. So: all done well in the design and planning.

StandAround midday the others are arriving, and life fills the place: the exhibits brought are set up: the differently coated metal sheets, the autoclave, the fuel cells, the nanobalance, and the interactive homogenizer. Monitors are installed, plugged in, and switched on. Brochures displayed, the give-aways arranged, and in the end the stand wiped. Done!

At five o’clock the stand quard arrives, we go to the hotel and later in the evening we will go to have something to eat together.

Day 2, Monday, Let’s get started!

Opening Session
There are mainly middle-aged men in dark suits standing around the round bar in the lobby. The atmosphere is relaxed: I frequently hear loud laughters, glimpse into friendly faces, and see warm greetings. The “Opening Session” will shortly begin, so I go to the hall. I like to be there earlier, so that I can secure a good seat on the side for myself. The huge half-round room is filled with blue light, the word “Welcome” can be read on the major screen in a dozen languages, and the quiet background-music creates a nice atmosphere. I sit down and watch how the hall is slowly filled. Do I see Prof. Wolf-Dieter Lukas there, the head of the department “Key Technologies – Research for Innovation” in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)? So I understand: the announced minister Mrs. Wanka will not come.

dancersAnd now, it all begins. A male and a female dancer, dressed completely in white, give a performance, where they ludically interact with the film that is displayed on the screen. Wow! That looks really great!

Judith Rakers comes on stage. She is well-known, among other things, as the spokeswoman of the newscast “Tagesschau”, and she moderates the event at ease and very enjoyably. First of all, the winners of the pupil-competition are awarded. Pupils from class 7 to 11 could participate, and more than 3,000 teams took part in the first turn. 877 of them could then do experiments, and around 550 successful experiment reports were evaluated. 44 of them were awarded with magazines-abos and books. Out of these 44 teams 3 were selected as winners, who will now be introduced.Pupils on stage
While the teams are standing on stage, the moderator interviews them individually: What was your favourite question? Did something go wrong in your experiment? etc. In some cases it goes really funny.
Moderator: “How often did you use google in the competition to answer the questions?”
Answer: “For every question!” Laughter in the hall.

After honoring the students Stefan Hell comes on stage. Well, I think it’s not necessary to mention that he is one of the three Nobel-price winners for Chemistry in 2014. He gives his speech very amusingly, in which he graphically explains his technique – the STED microscopy – , and also shows photos of the Nobel-price conference and of the subsequent banquet.
Stefan-HellThe STED-microscopy allows us to make images with a light microscope, that are 10 times sharper, than what was possible earlier. And whether you believe it or not, light microscopes are still frequently used today in most scientific publications in the Life Sciences, in spite of the fact that there are electron microscopes, since light microscopes are non-invasive and therefore they allow to get insights into living cells.
Next, Wolf-Dieter Lukas, the department manager in BMBF, speaks. Typically for a politician, he gives a speech without showing any slides. After the great presentation of Mr. Hell, Mr. Lukas has difficulty to pick up the pace. Among other things he speaks about the meaning of the Chemistry branch as “enabling technology”, that enables technical progresses of many other branches in the first place. Since I’ve already heard this argument in many talks about many branches similarly I feel bored and deeply wish that politicians finally start to talk straightly.

Now come the honors with the ACHEMA founder-price. In the “Energy” section a start-up of the RESOLV-partner Fraunhofer-Institut UMSICHT wins. The start-up “Volterion” develops batteries to store photovoltaic energy for domestic use.
The event ends with a short fast-motion video, that shows the construction of the exhibition in the last two weeks, and the people stream out of the hall. It was good, that I sat at the edge, so now I come out as one of the first ones and I can avoid the stream of people. The round bar is filled again, the people are chatting and then they slowly move on to the exhibition halls.

“Meet your friends”-Party
There was a big party in the evening and we got one free ticket. Yep, one. So I go there without knowing anybody. But just how the coincidence wanted, while I was looking for the location I became acquainted with a woman, so we continued searching together. Then, at the entrance came the surprise: I didn’t have an admission ticket.
“You cannot enter without a ticket.” Even my most beautiful smile, with which I tried to impress the reception lady, didn’t count.
“But we must have a ticket! Is it maybe depositedparty on the roof somewhere?” I tried a last option.
“Oh I see, yes, there is a desk downstairs, you shall inquire there again.” She could have mentioned this right away, couldn’t she?
Luckily, the card was on the desk, and it was a nice evening. I chatted with several people, exchanged business cards, danced to live-reggae and rock’n’roll, and enjoyed the splendid warm weather and the great view from the huge roof-terrace, where the whole party took place. I also got to know some people from a Russian company here, who offered me in a discussion on the following day, to give us an access to a microbiological security-bank for six months for free.
So: a successful evening.

Day 3 and 4, A completely normal exhibition-madness
To be on the exhibition stand in the morning at half past eight and to look good and smiling the whole day – I will soon be k.o. The weirdly stuffy air in the exhibition hall (despite the air-conditioning) , the constantly high noise level, and the change between unpeopled periods and complete onrushes on our stand claim their tribute. In spite of my determination to go without coffee, I tap the small Senseo-machine for a “Black Magic” all the time.
My nights are correspondingly restless…

interaktive-HomogenizerSince we take part in the Science Rallye of the stand BMBF as partners, troops of students come frequently by, and they want to know how many atoms the exhibited protein model MMP-14 in reality has (2,690), what we mean by solvation, and what a homogenization process is, by which two in fact immiscible liquids are mixed. Certainly, the exhibited interactive homogenizer is used vigorously for explanation.  It’s indeed good that we could close the small leak that cropped up on the first day…

Altogether, the concept of our exhibition stand turned out to be good: the visitors stopped amazed in front of our eye-cather exhibit (“Imore-people-on-stands it a heart?”), and we got into a conservation with several interesting people. Since we divided the supervision of our stand into shifts of four persons, each of us could quite extensively look around the exhibition. During these excursions we spoke actively to different corporations, and so overall more than fifty contacts came about. We shall see, whether they result in a co-operation…

For me today – on Wednesday evening – it has come to an end. I travel home, and Nina will take my place from tomorrow. So the stand-personell changes once – only Marie and Christopher need to stay until Friday. Keep up!

Jens


About the Author

Jens_128x171Jens Ränsch holds a Diploma in Physics and a Ph.D. in Plasma Physics. He worked for a funding agency for five years, where he gained experience in the development of research fields, evaluation of research proposals, managing of industrial research projects as well as in different public outreach projects. In 2014 he joined the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV as a kind of “all-round” Science Manager.
His motto of life is: “I know that I know nothing.” (Plato’s Apology, attributed to Sokrates.) He takes this motto as a starting point for his everyday trial to be a really open-minded person – in private as well as in work life.


Photos of ACHEMA Exhibition

 

 

Traditional RESOLV ECR Football Tournament 2015

The tradition continues. As part of the annual Early Career Researcher Summer Party of the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV, the ECR Football Tournament (NC-Fußballturnier) took place on 16 September 2015 at the football field behind the GB Building.

The Players Greeting Each Other

The Players Greeting Each Other

All groups within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry were invited to participate. The participants of this year were “Photonics” from the work group of Physical Chemistry II, Physical Chemistry I, “Elanos” from Analytical Chemistry, “Schlenkchester United” from Inorganic Chemistry and “AK Huber” from Organic Chemistry I. Since there were only five teams, every team had chance to play against each other simultaneously on two different courts. After this exciting period from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm, the teams of the final match were decided.

After a break, the final game started and everybody hold their breath: The winner team was “Photonics” again, for the fifth time since 2011, so they get five stars now.

The Winner Team "Photonics"

The Winner Team “Photonics”

The winners of the previous years were “Real Chlorid” in 2005 and 2006, “Verwaltung” in 2008, “Reaktor 04”, “O Zeh Zwo” in 2009 and “Reaktor 04” again in 2010.

Barbeque After the Tournament

Barbeque After the Tournament

Drinks and BBQ were not also forgotten after the tournament. Even though there was a little drizzle, it was a thrilling and joyous tournament.  The eyes are now on the next year’s tournament.


The more detailed information about the event can be found in the poster below:

ECR-Football_Poster

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Debating with the VIPs of science at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Saul Perlmutter

Saul Perlmutter

One moment, you have Saul Perlmutter making vivid appeal for more education about the process of science. The next moment, Dan Shechtman recalls the moment he discovered quasiperiodic chrystals only to be facing more than a decade of opposition from the science establishment. You turn around and Wole Soyinka is debating the role of education in fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria. It is quite clear that you have to brace yourself for an overwhelming experience of debating science and its role in society with some of the brightest minds, when you participate in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. I was given the opportunity to be one of 650 young researchers from all over the world who took part in the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting 2015. We had the privilege to spend six days in the company of each other and 65 nobel laureates from the fields of Physics, Chemistry and Physiology/Medicine as well as Wole Soyinka (1986 Nobel Laureate for Literature) and Kailash Satyarthi (2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate).

As I am working and researching in the field of science education, it was particularly interesting for me to see how passionate many of the Nobel laureates as well as my fellow young researchers are about education. Dan Shechtman, for example, appears in a show for young children on the Israeli television called “Being a scientist with Professor Dan”. Saul Perlmutter takes his lead from Jane Austen and calls his lecture series for the general public “Sense and Sensibility and Science”. Many of the young researchers also try to find new ways of engaging people with science. A young physics PhD from UC Santa Barbara organizes summer courses for high school teachers, where they can get in touch with cutting-edge research. Another young researcher from Cologne wants to organize and film science slams on current topics like global warming and renewable energy where leading scientists explain their view of the issue for high school students.

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Martin Chalfie

Personally, I was especially proud to meet Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien whose work on the green fluorescent protein (GFP) has inspired the Alfried Krupp School Lab project that RESOLV is offering for high school students at the Ruhr-University. It adds to the authenticity of the project that I can now report a personal meeting with these distinguished researchers. Altogether, I was keen throughout the meeting to listen to the ideas of the Nobel laureates and my fellow young researchers but also to offer my ideas and opinions to the discussions. I hope that other young researchers within RESOLV will be offered the opportunity to participate in this meeting during the years to come.


You can find a short interview with Christian Strippel on Lindau Meeting in the “Three questions for…” part of 2/2015 issue of RUBIN magazine.


About the Author

@ RUB, Foto: Nelle

Christian Strippel was born 1988 in Bochum and holds a M.Ed. in Chemistry and English. His (scientific) motto of life is: “Fortune favours the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur
He studied in Cambridge (UK) for one year and holds a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (Chemistry, University of Cambridge). Currently, he works on his Ph.D. project “Communication about scientific inquiry during experimentation”.