BERLIN SCIENCE WEEK 2019
This month, Berlin Science Week celebrated four years since it first opened its doors. From 1st-10th November, this new edition of Science Week explored the future of digitalisation, medicine, food and climate change economics all under the sharp lens of AI and machine learning.
What is the future of work? How will climate change influence our eating habits? Can AIs make art?
BSW’s intersectional free programme of events includes over 130 events ranging from science lectures, interactive activities and school talks in ground-breaking venues and unexpected locations across Berlin.
If looking at the programme of events while Google Mapping all the venues makes you dizzy, we highly recommend starting with the Campus Exhibition Space! This year, the central exhibition hall of the Naturkunde Museum was taken over by an exhibition space showcasing 14 of the leading science and technology institutes from across the world. The BSW campus was not only a fantastic place to hear from leading scientists about their discoveries but was also a booming spot for meeting fellow curious minds.
Cyber Valley’s exhibition instantly caught our eye as we arrived. The installation showcases a form of artistic AI that interprets objects and faces and reimagines them through plastic techniques. The AI was fed with millions of styles, constantly reshaping and adapting to new information. This visual interface is just a snippet of the research that takes place at Cyber Valley, one of the largest European research cooperation projects which studies spanning from data discrimination to computer interfaces and neural networks
Branching off the exhibitions space audiences could find exciting talk spaces buried amongst the permanent museum exhibits. A programme of eye-opening talks, ranging from social media and engagement, to antibiotics and AI.
The Swiss Institute of Technology has been a huge success in the past four years amongst both the artistic and scientific communities. This year’s edition of the BSW included an exciting talk about art and science collaboration as a means to inspire both worlds and fuel discovery and artistic practice. The talk also delved into the challenges and pitfalls of crossing over the two worlds, and the best strategies to overcome these.
Man and Machine, another series of short talks from ETH scientists explored how AI will evolve and change our lifestyle. Gisbert Schneider, Professor for Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH introduced audiences to the future of pharmacology and medicine, and explained how AI could help the scientific community develop personalised medicine for patients. For Gisbert, “the future of drug discovery [is] a collaborative endeavour between AI and humans, with computers supporting us to make decisions”.
Finishing up on a cosy note, Alexis E. Block, Doctoral Fellow at Max Planck ETH Center for Learning Systems, touched upon the possibility of a robot fulfilling the social needs of humans that might not have easy access to their loved ones. What would be the perfect hug? Her research, in simple terms, is about teaching robots how to give a good hug. Finding the ideal softness, warmth, duration and strength are they key parts of her work with HuggieBot.
Contrary to its title, Berlin Science Week is not just for scientists. With a range of over 130 events across the city, the content of the programme stretches across many disciplines and exciting hubs. A highlight of 2019 Berlin Science Week’s events was Lichtfelder, the new show at STATE Studio. Launching on the 1st of November to commemorate STATE’s first year as an independent art and science space in Berlin, Lichtfelder explores light as a subject, through the artistic practices of Charlotte Dahroth and Ole Jesonnek. Spanning across three floors the exhibition reflects on the geometrical aspects of light as an object, and the element’s influence in scientific research hand experimentation. Lichtfelder is only one example of the exciting arts programme of Berlin Science Week, which also includes exhibitions and family events at the newly-opened House of Futures, Futurium.