Science communication in nonscience events. New opportunities found in Magic Fairs, City Visits, and Flower Festivals

Author: Miquel Duran – University of Girona, Spain


  • Fernando Blasco – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
  • Silvia Simon – University of Girona, Spain

Public communication of Science is usually achieved within science-related events like Science Fairs, Festivals, Lectures, etc. However, there are other events not specifically science-oriented that may be used to reach a larger population. Our team has been involved in three such cases (connecting Science with Magic): participation in a Costa Brava Magic Fair (communicating science to families), guiding City visits (communicating Science on the spot in Girona, Barcelona, and others), and building Flower exhibits (Rubik’s Cube, Periodic Table of the Elements).

All three cases have provided the opportunity to talk about science and techology advances and their social implications, because all three cases connect a large audience (social gathering) for a given amount of time (shorter in the case of a Flower Festival). Moreover, all three provide an urban context that allow to pinpoint history clues, keys to the future of communities, and transformation opportunities, while allowing discussion with the public.

Different fields of Science may be connected in this kind of nonscience events: actually, it is simpler than in Science-related events. This presentation will focus on urban magic&science walks: in a recent Barcelona Walk (Parc de la Ciutadella), we linked mathematics, biology, chemistry, geology and physics. In various Girona Old Town Walks on Magic and Science we led in the last four years, we addressed heritage, mathematics, physics, and chemistry using enticing magic tricks and curious experiments. Participants usually love that approach to local-based Science.

We think that science communication in general, nonscience events provides great opportunity to reach a much wider audience. Our experience from qualitative, impromptu post-event evaluation suggests that participants in science-related events reinforce their beliefs and satisfy their expectations. On the contrary, in general events like City Walks, surprise brings about curiosity for science to individuals and groups that might not consider science interesting enough.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual presentation
Theme: Transformation