Thousands visited Tieteen päivät science forumThe science event Tieteen päivät gathered a large crowd of science enthusiasts at Tampere Hall. The event offered everything from lectures and research presentations to a planetarium and lots of things to do and see for younger visitors.
The event’s themes this year concerned freedom and its limits. The 500 seats at Tampere Hall’s Small Auditorium were barely enough for the masses of visitors come to hear the day’s speakers discuss the themes of good living and old age, the future of technology, and the history of Finland. Speakers at the Maestro Auditorium discussed freedom of speech.
A number of speakers spoke on the future and limits of technology. Mari Pantsar, Director of Sitra’s Resource-wise and carbon-neutral society project, painted a picture of the world’s sustainability crisis and discussed methods of making a change for the better.
“If we can’t solve the crisis of sustainability, everything else is bound to fail as well,” Pantsar said.
States, cities, and companies play an important role in attaining carbon neutrality, but 68% of greenhouse gases are the result of choices made by households.
“Citizens can’t solve the sustainability crisis on their own, but it cannot be solved without them,” she concluded.
TUT University Lecturer and expert of computer vision Heikki Huttunen spoke about the development of robot cars and how they could be used to decrease the number of cars and increase traffic safety. To Huttunen, automation means better safety, more efficiency, and better use of space.
“Robot cars would encourage sharing. If a family needs two cars now, in the future they could well manage with one, or even share a car with other households. A robot car could easily take adults to their work and children to their hobbies,” he claimed.
However, the future of robot cars needs more research. More has to be known not just about the technology, but also about people’s attitudes towards robot cars.
“Finland is the perfect place for testing the technology. If the machine can see in our November darkness, it can see anywhere in the world,” Huttunen said.
“We also need data on how people react to automated vehicles. Do people want to hand over the steering wheel to a robot? How much do people love their own cars? Are we ready for a sharing economy?” asks Lecturer Markus Pöllänen from TUT’s Transport Research Centre Verne.
From pole vaults to wonders of the universe
In addition to the lectures, Tieteen päivät had much for visitors to see and experience. The Ursa planetarium let visitors see the wonders of the universe and get a glimpse into its future. Different higher education institutions held demo presentations on their new research. Visitors could see presentations on thermal imaging, 3D printing, the Nokia OZO camera, and virtual reality glasses that let people experience pole vaults from last summer’s Finland-Sweden track and field competition.
“It was an amazing experience! I felt like I was floating a few metres off the ground,” said Taru Koivisto from Pälkäne, who had come to the event with her brother’s children.
Koivisto had positive things to say about the day’s other offerings, as well.
“Very interesting! I’m a teacher, and this event has given me a lot of ideas for my work. The children have enjoyed themselves too,” she said.
Tieteen päivät had a lot to offer for children. Workshops gave the event’s young visitors the chance to experience the wonders of aviation and robotics or to build their own kaleidoscope. TUT’s robots were a great source of joy for kids, as well.
Over a thousand visitors on Youth Day
Friday 20 January was Youth Day, when approximately 1,200 students visited the event along with their teachers. Visitors had the chance to attend discussions on subjects ranging from robots and cyber-crime to augmented reality and human spare parts. In addition to technology, other discussions touched on the themes of Finnish history, nature, and the world. Other attractions included the demo presentations and the society simulator.
In all, the Tieteen päivät science forums had approximately 3,500 visitors on Friday and Saturday. The Tampere event was organized by Tampere University of Technology, Aamulehti, The Council of Tampere Region, Police University College, Tampere University of Applied Sciences, City of Tampere, University of Tampere, and Tampere Hall. The event was supported by Tieteen tiedotus ry and the Finnish Cultural Foundation. This year, Tieteen päivät visits nine cities all around Finland.