Attracting over 10,000 visitors ever two years, the Science Festival is Luxembourg’s largest public event to promote science and research. From 9th to 12th November, the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) and the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) hosted the 11th edition of the Luxembourg Science Festival in the Grund in Luxembourg City. LIH was present with three interactive workshops that allowed participants to assess their physical fitness and mental performance, and get knowledge about their body composition.
This year’s Science Festival hosted 56 experimental science workshops, eight shows and two exhibitions. On Thursday and Friday when the workshops were exclusively reserved to school classes, more than 4300 pupils registered to participate. On Saturday and Sunday the event was open to the public at large and attracted in particular families with children. The LIH workshops aimed to inform the secondary school pupils and general public about some of the institute’s activities in the field of population health and bring them some knowledge regarding the practical tools, used in the current ORISCAV-LUX2 study conducted in Luxembourg to monitor the cardiovascular health status of the resident population.
In the first workshop about “cognitive performance”, one could challenge several brain functions such as attention, memorisation, and concentration via visual and maths tests on a tablet computer. The second workshop was concerning “physical functioning”, where participants could test four aptitudes of their body with simple tests: balance (balance test), coordination (finger tapping test), flexibility (flexibility test) and strength (grip strength test). In a third workshop about “body composition”, people could participate in a quiz to learn more about the main body components which are water, fat, muscle and bone, and their proportion and distribution in the body.
‘The Science Festival is a unique opportunity for researchers to get in touch with the public and vice versa’, states Dr Ala’a Alkerwi, coordinator of LIH’s workshops. ‘We have to bridge the gap that still exists between the research world and the general population, and promote a positive image of science.’ For Dr Alkerwi it was the first time that she organised a workshop for a lay audience. ‘It was a lot of work, but a very enriching experience. I am proud of the success that our workshops encountered. I thank all the people from LIH who readily volunteered to help in the set-up and facilitation’, she underlines.
LIH was in addition involved in the facilitation of a workshop on Parkinson’s disease organised by the National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s Disease (NCER-PD). IBBL - the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg, which is part of LIH, held a workshop around human cells, their structure and their role in disease. Participants could observe their cheek cells under a microscope and learned how pathologists prepare and stain tissues to differentiate healthy from cancerous tissue. This workshop showcased part of IBBL’s work for the upcoming tumour sample collection within the National Cancer Plan.
Facilitators for the three LIH workshops: Dr Gloria Aguayo, Dr Ala'a Alkerwi, Jessica Calmes, Miriam Fougeras, Cathy Fousse, Dr Malou Fraiture, Catherine Goetzinger, Mohammed Iddir, Dr Alexis Lion, Dr Laurent Malisoux, Jessica Pastore, Anna Schritz, Daniela Valoura Esteves and Aurélie Wiederkehr
LIH workshop on cognitive performance
LIH workshop on physical functioning
LIH workshop on body composition
Part of the team of workshop facilitators