Aluminium foil and its role during the first LIMES science slam

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On July 1st, the first LIMES science slam took place. It was initiated by the women in science committee to bring scientists together for a funny and exciting networking event in a relaxing atmosphere with a good barbecue afterwards.

The classical science slam is often used by the slammers to explain their own complex research issues to a public audience. In case of the LIMES science slam, the listeners had a scientific background, hence were most likely to be even more critical with the presented subjects. From the five slammers that signed up, some slammers chose to present their own data, whereas others chose topics which fascinated themselves besides their own work.

The slammers represented each academic carrier stage. Prof. Dr. Jan Hasenauer just started his own group focusing on Computation Life Sciences in Bonn. Dr. Antonella Succurro recently became the Scientific Officer at the West German Genome Center and Nico Reusch, Nóra Balzer, as well as Amir Kayvanjoo, are 1st and 2nd year PhD students at the LIMES Institute.

Nico Reusch at the 1st Limes Science Slam 2019.
Nico Reusch at the 1st Limes Science Slam 2019. Image: (c) Anni Weier.

All of them brought their individual personality into the talk.

  • Antonella is Italian, so it was not surprising that within her slam, she illustrated scientific findings about bacterial nutrient behaviour with pizza and pasta.
  • Nico, a real carnival enthusiast, demonstrated how the immune system responds during the “5th season” and gave some advice on how to stay healthy during that time.
  • Nóra, who seeks improvements for women and mothers in science, taught the female community about the right time to ask for a salary increase and what, besides all the negative aspects, advantages of the climate change could be.
  • Prof. Dr. Jan Hasenauer, who is not only interested in models in his profession, showed the audience that also during his vacations his profession is his passion.
  • The last slammer of the night was Amir, and he shared a very personal story about himself and his boss, Dr. Elvira Mass, with the audience. Thereby proving that, under certain conditions, the use of aluminium foil in the microwave is acceptable. However, even more special than understanding the physical theories behind this phenomenon, was the observation that Amir and his boss were able to laugh about themselves a characteristic we should appreciate at work!
Nóra Balzer at the 1st Limes Science Slam 2019. Image: (c) Anni Weier.

The field of science has the reputation to be focused, hardworking, stiff and paper-orientated. One can imagine that in this ambitious atmosphere the fun is often neglected. Therefore, it was extremely impressive so see that all slammers made their critical audience laugh. Not a restrained one, but a loud guffaw after many remarks.

At the end, it was the audience’s task to choose the winner, by cheering the loudest for their favourite performance. As a read out, an app which recognizes volume was chosen. Unfortunately, the technical application device was not able to choose a winner, as the maximum detection level was reached for each slammer during the voting – but that is a good sign, isn’t it? To solve the challenge, the Institute’s director, Prof. Dr. Waldemar Kolanus, had the privilege to appoint the winner based on the noise from the audience: the first LIMES science slam winner was Amir Kayvanjoo! He received a prize trophy together with a wonderful certificate, which of course, will be helpful for his future scientific career!

The evening ended with a delicious barbecue and great conversations between the slammers and the audience. So if you are interested in becoming the next LIMES science slam winner, have a look at the article Free the pig from the poke! Slam your science! to learn how it works. Overall, one can say: we are looking forward to the second LIMES science slam!

Author: Anni Weier