The corridor of the Fundamental Library of the Moscow State University is overcrowded – it is impossible to elbow one’s way through it. A young man’s voice was heard in the crowd: “If your banknote burns, I’ll repay you with two!”. People exchanged glances, grinning, when the boldest of them offered a one hundred rouble banknote. The guy calmly put it in a glass, filled with some liquid, and set fire to it. The fire enveloped it for several seconds and then died out. The banknote was left untouched. The surprised viewers learnt that there were water and acetone in the glass, acetone vapours burnt after evaporating from damp banknote.
This and many other things could be seen at the 8-th Festival of Science in Moscow, where there were more than fifteen hundred events, which made people admire science.
The central venue of the Festival was full. The first in Russia electro-bolide was brought there, it was presented by the Moscow State Automobile and Road Technical University (МАDI).
Dome movie theatre was one of the newly designed products at the Festival. The viewers were delighted with chaise lounges instead of usual seats and an original screen above. 3D pictures made everything so real that people were frightened of the approaching microbes, planets or stars. The movie hall has 40 seats, but there were much more people wishing to see the presentation. Thirst for science did not stop even parents with small children, who sat on the floor on their coats and jackets.
Direct communication session with the International Space Station was arranged at the Festival for the first time. Three Russian cosmonauts – Fedor Yurchikhin, Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy – told how they live far from home. The live transmission started exactly on time. As soon as Fedor Yurchikhin’s voice was heard in the room, all people started cheering happily and smiling. And they took their phones out at once and started filming, in order to download video to You Tube later.
The most long-awaited and mass event was Dr. Hal’s show of chemical experiments, he is a lecturer at the University of Brighton and a great lover of explosions. The show started quietly: various liquids were mixed in test tubes, assuming bright, intense colours. But when it was time to experiment with gases, people had to forget about quietness. During one of the experiments Dr. Hal filled a balloon with oxygen and hydrogen and then brought fire to it. There was a deafening explosion with a bright flash. The room buzzed with delight and a storm of applause swept through the hall.
Executive opinion
Dmitriy Livanov, Minister of education and science of the Russian Federation:
“The Festival of Science is attracting more and more people every year: there were 20 thousand visitors in 2006, and there were about 450 thousand visitors last year,” Dmitriy Livanov said. “We want Russia to occupy a worthy place among world powers, and scientists to make discoveries, to win prizes at international contests, to get prestigious awards. In order to achieve that it is necessary for the best graduates of higher educational establishments to see a scientist’s career as a desired way of one’s development. The Festival of Science undoubtedly helps that very much.”