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What are the Understanding Science Seminars?

What is the objective? The purpose of the seminars entitled “Understanding Science, Scientific seminars for the general public” is to make a broader public aware of today’s accomplishments in research through short scientific lectures in English (popularization) as well as to have an opportunity to talk with EU scientists currently carrying out research in China as well as with Chinese Researchers, in a friendly environment provided by a bar/café.

Why? Because it is in the interest of both the speakers and the audience. Indeed, the invited speaker has an opportunity to practice popularization speech in order to: - share his experience as a researcher with a general public - to add a value to his work by discussing it from a different point of view - to be exposed to criticism from non-specialists which is a good way for the scientist to be reminded of the finality of his research - to add this experience to his curriculum for his future career - to promote EU research in China.

Who is talking? - The lecturers should be chosen in priority from the STF research fellows 1st and 2nd intakes, whom cover a large range of scientific areas (from Nuclear physics to History of Arts). If not a STF fellow, we strongly encourage young Chinese PhDs which have a research experience related to the EU. - One moderator, ideally a senior researcher from a different nationality than the speaker (e.g. Chinese if the speaker is from the EU and vice versa), working in the same field than the conference topic, to illustrate the collaboration between Chinese and EU scientists. Each talk (15 to 35 minutes), the questions session and discussion shouldn’t exceed one hour, in order the attendees to easily fit this event in their agenda. About what? The research theme of each conference is chosen according to the invited speaker’s field of expertise and may cover any scientific areas. Each conference has a general theme (e.g. “cancer therapy”, “Green Chemistry”…) presented by the speaker himself or the moderator, then the speaker focus on his own research (e.g. “nanotechnology, nanorisk?”, “CO2 is green too”…), explaining the aim and contributions of his research within the general topic. All the lectures have to be scientific popularisation in English.

To which audience? The conference is mainly directed at people from universities, that is to say students and PhD from any fields and nationalities. However the conferences are opened to everyone and we usually to have non-scientist in the assistance. In general the seminars gather 30-50 participants .

Where? In a friendly café to provide a comfortable and neutral atmosphere to the conference and able to host up to 50 persons and provide the attendees with food and drinks (at the attendees’ expense though). So far they take place at the Bridge café in Beijing (Wudaokou) and in the Wooden Box in Shanghai (Jing’An district).

When? These Understanding Science seminars are organised monthly at the beginning of the week and around 19h30.


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Shanghai: Laurent Le Guyader, PhD National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Chinese academy of Sciences 15810684139,

Beijing: Thibault Vogt, PhD Institute of Quantum Electronics, Peking University 13621013175,

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