Battle of the Scientists

After having survived the preliminaries in December last year, 5 scientists were selected to participate in the final round of the "Battle of the Scientists" ("Wetenschapsbattle" in Dutch). This event was held in the University Forum (UFO) in Ghent on 22 March , perfectly fitting in the Belgian Astronaut Week (21 to 25 March 2022) during which Belgium celebrates the 30th anniversary of the shuttle flight of Dirk Frimout - the first Belgian in space - and the 20th anniversary of Frank De Winne's journey in the International Space Station (ISS). The main purpose of this initiative is to make girls and boys interested in science and technology already at a young age (6-12 years).

The Battle of the Scientists is a unique and interactive competition in which 5 scientists present their research in a 10' talk to a room filled with about 400 primary school children, while thousands (at least 5000 registered) watched the event from their classroom through a livestream. The children organise the battle themselves and vote for the winning presentation. They do the preselection of the scientists, form a jury and present the show. They are time keepers and count the votes. This co-creation between children, scientists, teachers and communication coaches creates a completely new and versatile learning environment for all involved.

The theme for this year's battle was "space", and so the STCE sent in two applications, which were eventually both selected for the final round. Dr Elke D'Huys presented her work and thrilling experiences with solar storms, whereas Dr Petra Van Lommel glorified the fascinating and colorful polar lights. Petra certainly had to answer most of the questions from the kids, but the first prize of this year's Battle of the Scientists went to Marijn Timmer for his ongoing research on recycling urine from astronauts into breathable air during their future space mission to Mars. Underneath is a compilation of screenshots taken from the live stream.




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