The 7th edition of the Sofia Science Festival took place for a first time at its new home – Sofia Tech Park. A total of 65 lectures and discussions were held over the 4 festive days, accompanied by interactive experiments and demonstrations of new technologies, presented in an approachable manner to kids and adults. The festival is organized by the British Council and under the auspices of the ministry of education, with the participation of many of the institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The topics selected tackled technological entrepreneurship, the dark space, the red line between science and religion and mankind’s co-habitation with aliens from the past, as that was how viruses were claimed to have fallen here from Space.
The magic world of science has taken over most quickly the children’s minds. The kids rushed to touch Robbie the robot, created for the purpose of small household services. They had their initial attempt here to create their own model with the 3D pen, provided by the young engineers of Smart Fam Lab.
A handmade planetarium, supplied with the latest software technologies has turned into a real attraction. Both children and parents enter under the dome, in order to enjoy a simulation of Sofia’s night sky. PhD with the Institute for Astronomy with the BAS Mirela Napetova sees her meeting with the kids as the most pleasant thing.
"The planetarium’s design is fully open. One can find online demos, showing how to make it with your own parts. All you need is a computer, a projector and a spherical mirror, which creates the image on a spherical dome which simulates the night sky. One can see right now the movement of the stars and also how the sky looks like each night from any location worldwide. To my disappointment those who enter the planetarium ask us about zodiacs very often, but unfortunately this is pseudo-science in our opinion. I am really happy to meet lots of children, they are curious. They have often read about NASA’s latest discoveries and ask questions, based on concrete facts and data. They are really interested in other civilizations, in planets outside the Solar System and also in the constellations that they can observe. This is the fascination of my job – we research the deepest philosophy issues, such as the origin of the Earth, how the universe will evolve, how the Sun will develop and what the eventual future home of mankind will be…"
Prof. Slavcho Tomov is a rector of the Pleven Medical University. He believes in the power of new technologies which set up a new era in medicine. ‘The time of the new mankind is coming, but are we ready to accept it?’ he asks. The Pleven medicine students have now their Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery and the installation of a 3D surgery hall is forthcoming.
"We train in intense courses certified experts in robotized minimally invasive surgery,’ Prof. Tomov says. ‘We are about to expand this training method, as it requires special equipment and facilities. We have a virtual and a real surgery hall with the respective installation. Students work on living tissue – the pig has been intubated, it is alive and they operate it. One can see the sweat on their foreheads, as the situation is real. One of the halls is to be turned soon into a 3D studio, just like a modern cinema – students will observe in real time surgery through 3D glasses, broadcast from a surgery hall situated miles away. Thus they will study the anatomy of the human body live, in a real situation."
English version: Zhivko StanchevPhotos: BTA, Gergana Mancheva and Sofia Science Festival