Odhrán's SciFest Berlin Award

Odhrán's SciFest Berlin Award

Photographs by Olga Jarugski (Free University Berlin)


My Berlin Long Night of Science Trip Blog: 13 - 16 June 2019

by Odhrán Brady, Salesian College, Celbridge, Co. Kildare

As part of my prize for successful participation in the 2019 SciFest National Final I had the opportunity to go to Berlin to witness first-hand the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, where once per year in June, the Berlin science community opens its doors to the public. It was part of an exciting four-day visit sponsored by the Irish Embassy in Germany, and this is my travel diary.

Day 1: The flight arrived in Berlin at 11:30 am local time. We got the 4 day berlin welcome pass which allowed us to use Berlin public transport for the duration of our visit. We got two buses that got us to the hotel and we checked in at 12:00. After unpacking and settling into our rooms we then met Ines Rebal our guide for the four-day trip. Our first visit was to Free University Physics department. There we met with Mrs. Dr. Heiner and she showed us around some of the labs. We received very interesting talks with students, professors and postgrads around spin valve fabrication and using NMR measurement to help detect defects in ICs and I even got a chance to try some of the equipment out for myself!

Day 2: Up bright and early and took Berlin’s underground to the Irish Embassy in Jagerstraβe to meet with Maeve von Heynitz Deputy Head of Mission. We had a good chat about my project and Maeve discussed her past science competition experiences. In the morning we then visited the TU University in Berlin where I was able to sit in on an actual lecture being given to students on Industrial IOT. It gave me a real feel as to what it was like to actually to be student in a busy college. I must admit that I could only understand bits of the lecture and came way knowing that I have a lot to learn!

Next stop after a lunch we took a taxi to Rutherfordstraβe to visit the DLR Institute of Transport Technology System. We were welcomed by Pro. Dr. Peter Wagner and he initially showed us the setup for their long night of science which had a space exploration models among other displays. The exiting bit was that they were responsible for the design and build of the Philae lander that landed on the comet as part of the EU Rosetta mission a couple of years back – we even got a picture with Philae’s brother (or sister?)

Day 3: On Saturday we got up early and used the UBahn to explore the many tourist sites in Berlin. Ines had even arranged a visit to Reichstag - this was a cool experience and we got to go to the top of the dome that gave us an audio tour as we walked up. After the Reichstag experience we decided to go back to the Hotel to prepare for the long night of Science. We left the hotel to visit our first university which was a trip back to TU Berlin. We then visited the Zeiss Planetarium which had really interesting displays of our solar system all displayed on the roof of the dome.

Day 4: We visited the Check point Charlie museum in the morning and got a feel for what life was like in Berlin when the wall was up. In the afternoon we went on a boat trip down the river Spree and got to see Berlin from a different perspective.

After the boat trip we went to the most interactive museum in Berlin the DDR Museum, seeing what it was like to live on the other side of the wall, giving a completely different experience of what life was like for east Berliners in the 1960’s. We then went up to the top of the Berliner Fernsehturm which is the tallest building in Berlin. The 360 view from the top was amazing. We then had to go the airport to check leaving it as late as possible so that we could get to see as much as we could before leaving,

All told an action packed four days, and overall a wonderful experience, and one that I will always remember – never know may even end up going back to visit the Berlin universities for real in the years ahead!

I would like to thank everyone for making this trip so memorable, to Sheila and George in SciFest, and the Irish Embassy staff, and in particular to Ines for her time and hospitality during our visit – tausend dank!

Odhrán Brady

SFI Best Project Award and Newstalk Best Communicator Award winner, SciFest@IT Tallaght 2018

Berlin Long Night of Science Award winner, SciFest 2018 national Final.

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