The Weizmann Institute of Science and the Davidson Institute of Science Education
opened their doors to about 4,500 people as part of an international effort to familiarize the public with the varied and exciting aspects of science. Initiated by the European Commission, the annual “Researchers’ Night” is held simultaneously all over Europe, as well as at universities and research institutes across Israel.
“Young people tend to choose careers in law or accounting, for example – not for the sake of the profession but due to the high social status ascribed to it,” said Weizmann Institute President Prof. Daniel Zajfman. “The Institute has invested considerable resources in presenting scientists and scientific research in a new light: We try to change the way science is perceived, focusing our efforts on the younger generation.” Israel’s Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, welcomed these efforts: “I, myself, began my scientific journey as a child at a summer camp.”
Researchers' Night activities in Rehovot were organized by the Davidson Institute of Science Education, the educational arm of the Weizmann Institute, and directed by Dr. Oshrit Navon.
Thousands of visitors enjoyed an evening of workshops, demonstrations and special activities at the Clore Garden of Science, as well as tours of research labs and display rooms across the campus.
In the Arison building, visitors got to see an fMRI machine and learn how it is used in brain research – to help understand the way the brain decodes visual information, for instance.
At the Clore Garden of Science, visitors experienced a number of basic scientific phenomena – as they stood on a rotating platform while holding a gyroscope, listened to sounds emanating from Galileo's pendulum or became part of the human bio-yo.
In various coffee bars throughout the Rehovot area, the Weizmann Institute also held a series of “Science Café” gatherings, in which the public was invited to discuss with Institute scientists and students such hot scientific topics as: What's going on within the giant particle accelerator in Geneva? How are new drugs developed? What do neuroscientists have to say on the topic of body and mind? How does a human being develop from a single cell? And more.