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On Saturdays – about science: city tradition from ISU
19 May 2023

The 11th season of the project "Научные субботники" [Scientific Saturdays] is closed. Within the framework of the project well-known scientists, lecturers of Irkutsk State University and invited speakers give public lectures on the most relevant topics.

The project "Scientific Saturdays" (formerly "Научные weekend’ы” [Scientific weekends]) is absolutely free and it fulfills a scientific and educational mission. It has been conceived and implemented by Irkutsk State University together with the Club of Young Scientists “Альянс” [alliance] since 2018. Since this time, about 150 lectures were held in various fields of science – from chemistry and physics to history, linguistics and demography. The task of lecturers is not just to inform the audience about the achievements of science, but to make it accessible to non-specialists. All lectures provided a section to answer the questions from the audience, and often to discuss the topic of the lecture.

Konstantin Grigorichev, ISU Vice-Rector for Research and International Cooperation:

"The opening of the project in 2018 commemorated the 100th anniversary of the ISU. It was in the year of the centennial anniversary that we decided to take an important step in order to "open" the university for Irkutsk, to show the citizens what ISU scientists are working on. Hopefully, it succeeded. We are not only representing the science of ISU, but, as time has shown, we have formed a Saturday tradition to discuss topics related to science that are relevant for the citizens and residents of the Baikal region."

To talk about science for the general public, which for the most part are not specialists isn’t an easy assignment, but the lecturers of "Scientific Saturdays" coped with it perfectly. They conducted a dialogue, converting information into public knowledge and involving the audience in the production of scientific knowledge.

A separate topic that resulted in a whole cycle of lectures was the topic about awarding Nobel Prizes, which was prepared and presented to the audience by the ISU Council of Young Scientists.

It should be noted that the project continued even during the COVID-19 epidemic. Moreover, the pandemic has contributed to the expansion of the project's audience. Since the 5th season (spring 2020), lectures have been broadcast on the official ISU networks, and their recording is available on the popular science blog ISU UNIVERSUM. The project has found regular viewers in Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, Omsk, Vladivostok, Barnaul and other Russian cities.

Now the project "Scientific Saturdays" has gone on vacation, its work will continue in autumn. The most interesting and urgent scientific topics, told in simple and accessible language by specialists in their field await.