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Citizen Science Zurich

“Two scientists come into a bar …” – Citizen Science at the Pint of Science Festival in Zürich

On Wednesday May 22nd after work, the team of the Citizen Science Center Zurich, along with about 50 other people, gathered in the BQM bar near the Federal Technical Institute in Zürich for the last evening of the Pint of Science Festival – and a night full of (citizen) science.

Pint of Science is an international science festival that takes place every year in May. It brings researchers to local bars to tell people about the latest happenings in the world of science. The perfect opportunity to meet the young people shaping the science of tomorrow. Zurich was only one out of many cities that took part this year. Researchers across 24 countries were sharing their discoveries with whoever wanted to hear them in their local pub, bar or cafe.

The Citizen Science Center Zürich organized a presentation & activity with Dr. Andrew Durso who you know from the Snake ID Citizen Science Challenge. He also gave an interview on this blog earlier this year. The snake ID project tackles the global health issue of snakebite, given the fact that snakebite was recently put on the list of neglected diseases by the WHO.

Andrew started at Pint of Science with a case scenario: Imagine, you are a team of emergency medical personnel. A patient comes in with a snakebite & a photo of the snake. As a team, in 5-7 minutes, decide: Should you treat this bite with an antivenom or not? If so & if you have time, what kind of antivenom should you use? If you have extra time, what species of snake should you report on the snakebite report form?

  • Image, info and solution

  • We tried hard to identify the snake.

  • The event was commented on twitter as well.

The visitors grouped and realized, that this task is actually not that easy, if you only have an image. But that is a reality in many snake bite situations, sometimes not even an image is around, making it even harder to treat the patient. But the people BQM were quite successful, three out of five groups came up with the correct answer and got a price. Afterwards Andrew gave some insights into the Snake ID Citizen Science project and provided the audience with a short overview on snake biology, with an excursion about venomous snakes in Switzerland.

Along with Andrew we heard three other fantastic presentations from young researchers: Nicole Ackermans talked about convergent evolution, Yagmur Erten told us what dinosaurs, birds, and elephants can teach us about cancer, and Stefan Milosavljevic convinced us that plants are the true super heroes of our planet. Find infos about their presentations here.

Pint of Science is organised by a grass-root community of thousands of scientists across the world. The idea is to leave the so called ivory tower and show that scientists people just like you and me, and you can come and meet them over a drink. Although one has to admit that the BQM pub which on campus and right next to the two universities main buildings, is a place where students and researchers use to hang out. But the festival took place at two other places more downtown in parallel.

This year Switzerland was participating for the first time, with events in Bern, Zürich, Basel and Lausanne. In Zurich the event took place on three nights and every night in three different pubs, with at least one but more often three presentations at every venue. Do the math and you will get a big number of different topics and speakers, ranging from “Smoke and Mirrors in your brain“ to “Climate Change”, to “Atoms and the Big Bang”.

Here is a list of all the places worldwide where the Pint of Science Festival took place this year. Have a look at the big range of places and topics, and come to the nearest Pint of Science festival in 2020!

Fanny Gutsche-Jones