Throughout next week, Czechs will have a unique chance to learn more about what is currently going on in Czech science and research. More than fifty research institutes, observatories, laboratories and lecture halls around the country will open their doors to welcome school students, families and science fans in this year's Science week, organised by the Czech Academy of Sciences. Admission to all the events is free and the Academy is hoping to attract even more visitors than the 10,000 who came last year. Helena Illnerova is the chairwoman of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
"Probably the most important part is the opening of almost all Academy institutes to the public. This is mostly directed towards high-school students so that the high-school students might find out what is important now in research and how it is interesting and maybe one day they will decide themselves to become researchers or scientists. This is, of course, our real goal. The second goal is just to show the public as such that we do things which are really important and just that people can look at our work and decide themselves whether it is good to put money into research and science."
While seeing what's going on inside the Academy's research institutes might be most appealing to school students, there will also be a number of accompanying events which are expected to attract the expert public as well.
"The second part are lectures which will be held mostly here at the Academy headquarters at 3 Narodni Street and these lectures will be dedicated mostly - I must say to my surprise - to biology: to genomics, to proteomics, to cloning and to neuroscience, to all these things which are now, of course, very modern and people want to know more about it. I understand why they want to know more about it - because it will influence us all. The third thing is that we will have here some round tables about brain drain and women in science and so on. Again, these subjects are very important and, hopefully, we'll learn something new".
The Week of Science and Technology in the Czech Republic is supported by the US and French embassy and also the British Council. Elizabeth White is the deputy head of the British Council in the Czech Republic.
"The British Council is taking part in Science Week for the second time and we've organised a series of acts in support of the Week of Open Doors at the Academy. The events that we have are more concerned with the questions of science and society or the popularisation of science. There are two round tables in the week; there is a round table on the important question of women in science and on the second day, there is a round table with a talented young British scientist who is working here in Prague. He'll be talking about the question of Europe and the brain drain. On the third day we are showing a film on the human genome and on Thursday and Friday, we have a very interesting show for students and school students about the ethics of biogenetics."