InScience Experiments: Day 4
On the last day of the InScience festival, a special screening of Into the Ice took place in Triavium, where viewers could shiver between the ice like real polar researchers, looking for the most up-to-date insights into the climate crisis. Dozens of visitors seized the opportunity to enjoy the film Geographies of Solitude, which was crowned best science film of InScience 2023 by both the professional jury and the Student Jury.
In the Bibliotheek Mariënburg, more than 300 children got to know the scientists who participated in the Klokhuis Science Prize during Ontmoet de Onderzoeker. The first prize was awarded by Klokhuis presenter Nizar El Manouzi to the researchers of the project ‘Papa kan niet lopen, maar wel huppelen’, Anouk Tosserams, doctor-PhD student Rehabilitation & Neurology at Radboudumc, and Dr. Jorik Nonnekes, rehabilitation doctor at Radboudumc. People with Parkinson’s can move less well. By doing certain ‘tricks’, such as hopping, bouncing a ball or walking like a cowboy, this often works out better. This research focuses on why these tricks work so well, and what exactly happens in the brain.
Visitors also participated in the Hartverscheurend Filmexperiment. A study by Radboudumc took place in the Festivalhuis with the help of participants in the Alfa Laval Stevensloop half marathon, to improve the screening of athletes for cardiovascular disease.
Experiments at the library 2.0
The experiments at the library this weekend were not just for grown-ups, there were also short tests for children. They were mostly aimed to get children acquainted with science.
One of the tables looks at food, especially which vegetables children like or dislike. Is their appreciation linked to whether they know the veggie? Research into walking with Parkinson’s disease lets children use their brainpower to move objects from a distance.
The table of the University of Wageningen is popular, where children play games related to seeds. Researcher Nikita Sajeev explains to children how a seed will know when to sprout. “To ensure that a seed will begin germination its environment needs to fulfil certain requirements. Because of the rise of global temperature, these environments are becoming more extreme. The Wageningen Seed Science Centre tries to find out how we can cultivate plants that can still grow in those circumstances. This is necessary to make sure that there will still be enough plants to eat in the future!”
(Text: Regina Behoekoe)
From the icy depths to climate therapy
Films often evoke strong emotions, especially at the InScience Film Festival. It is not often, however, that a festival organises a group therapy session after a showing. This was exactly what happened last Sunday after the film Into the Ice. The documentary portrays the climate crisis from the perspective of several brave scientists. They are researching the ice on Greenland, which is disappearing even faster than they had thought.
That is certainly not a happy thought, but sadly it is a realistic one. After the film, visitors were given the chance to come to the dome in front of the LUX. Here, humanistic counsellor Evanne Nowak led a group therapy session that focused on climate grief.
It soon became apparent that this was not an exaggerated luxury when the first tears started to flow. Nowak managed to create a safe environment where everyone could voice their own thoughts. What made the biggest impression on most participants was the fact that the scientists in Into the Ice found their own lives less important than the warming of our earth. “They have to submit themselves to deadly hazards, all because we are too callous to take immediate action.” Still, not everyone is pessimistic about our chances: “The fact that we are here right now gives me hope”.
(Text: Regina Behoekoe)
Trauma is passed from parent to child. Violence can thus continue for generations. The civil war in Belfast is over, but the conflict is still deeply rooted in society. This is also the case at this Catholic boys’ school, where students still show a lot of aggression. But we also see a lot of hope. The primary school principal teaches the young boys how to deal with trauma in a new way: he appeals to ancient wisdom from Athens. By addressing intergenerational trauma with philosophy, classical theories are given new life. Prior to the film screening, spoken word artist Nabil Tkhidousset plays an excerpt from his first theater performance Jihad an Nafs – gevecht van de ziel. It is a personal story that ties into the theme of intergenerational trauma.
The program starts with powerful excerpts from Nabil Tkhidousset. He portrays his own life story and the turbulent road he has taken in search of the right therapy. Tkhidousset grew up in a difficult home situation. Domestic violence is no stranger to him. Due to the normalization of violence, he has difficulty processing his own emotions and develops psychological complaints. When he finally plucks up the courage to share his problems (“Mommy, I think I’m depressed”), these feelings are suppressed by his mother: “You just have to stop reading all those self-help books, only people who are crazy in their heads read such books.” With his theater show, Tkhidousset hopes to break taboos surrounding mental health. It’s a great success. The audience is completely silent and afterwards has so many questions for Tkhidousset that Kiki Kolman, programmer Talks at InScience, has to interrupt the question session to prevent overrun.
The documentary Young Plato has many similarities with the play. Again, the effect of trauma on children is discussed. A change of scale is taking place. Tkhidousset’s story shows how violence runs through a family line, but the film shows how civil war can affect an entire city years later. Kevin McArevey is the dynamic headteacher of The Holy Cross Boys school in North Belfast, a community once marked by the conflict between Catholics and Protestants. The hot breath of the past can be felt all over the city. The literally polarizing wall that runs right through the city determines the streetscape. But remnants extend beyond the physical. The old generation of North Belfast lived through the war themselves. Their morale and the way they deal with emotions are often marked by the violence they experienced at a young age. They pass on these morals and behavior patterns to their children. McArvey is determined to break this chain reaction. From his love for ancient philosophy, he draws up a teaching program for his nine and ten year olds. During these lessons, he teaches the boys new ways of thinking. He discusses strategies to control emotions and avoid confrontation. Thus, philosophy is employed to navigate conflict in today’s world.
(Text: Ru Dahm)