First impressions from Saturday: Welcome to ESOF. (There’s free beer.)

22 June 2014 by Mike Beckers, posted in ESOF2014

In order to persuade 4,500 scientists, journalists, politicians and representatives of science organizations to come to Copenhagen, you need more than free beer. Although, amidst the historic buildings of the Carlsberg brewery, of course there's free beer. But the main reason is this year's "Euroscience Open Forum", or ESOF.

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The ESOF conference takes place every two years, the last meeting was in Dublin. Already on Saturday, the first participants listened to the lectures and discussions. But the real kick-off will be the opening ceremony on Sunday afternoon, with royal and other high-ranking participants. The program from Monday through Wednesday will be packed with all kinds of events - and the attendants at the registration desk will have a lot of work.

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"Science in the City" is an accompanying festival on the Carlsberg site, inviting the public to discover science in a novel way. Yesterday, the stage play "Copenhagen" by Michael Frayn was played here – depicting a meeting between Nils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg in 1941.

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The media room, where soon the journalists will labour away, was still rather quiet.

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Strolling among the impressive Carlsberg buildings, I suddenly noticed the depiction of nine people on painted tiles:

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By chance, the male/female ratio here (there is one sole woman, Ottilia Jacobsen, wife of the brewery founder) is the reason why we are here: when it comes to full tenure professorships or scientific committees, the percentage of women is often just as small. This is the reason why AcademiaNet was founded in 2010 by the German Robert Bosch Stiftung, to make excellent female researchers more visible in the public.

As most things at ESOF, the AcademiaNet stand was still in standby mode.

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But soon, our work will begin.

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