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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

A “Biennal” full of events and ICN2 involvement

The science festival “Biennal Ciutat i Ciència” of Barcelona (June 8-13) ended last Sunday. The ICN2 participated in several successful events throughout the week.

After almost a week packed with scientific activities and talks dedicated to citizens, the Biennal Ciutat i Ciència, science festival held in Barcelona every other year, came to an end last Sunday, June 13. The ICN2 —as it could not be otherwise— participated in several different events, with the aim of bringing nanoscience closer to society.

We started on the 8th with a talk by Dr Maria Soler, of the  Nanobiosensors and Bioapplications Group, oriented to primary school students, about her research on COVID fast diagnostic. On June 10th, ICREA Prof. José A. Garrido, leader of the Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group, participated in a debate entitled “Nanotecnology: illuminating the mind and the disease”. The audience launched diverse and relevant questions, managed by such a skilful moderator as is journalist and TV anchor-man Pere Estupinyà. Questions about ethical implications, technical limitations and dystopic futures inspired by modern science fiction reflected the impact on our society of the technologies discussed during the event. On the following day, June 11th, Prof. Pedro Gómez, leader of the Novel Energy-Oriented Materials Group,  gave a Pecha Kucha talk: a quick and informal talk about his research.

On the last day of the festival, June 13th, members of the Marketing and Communication Department held two workshops. The first, called “Art and Nanoscience: Stained glass with nanoparticles, soap bubbles and iridescent colours of butterflies”, was designed for children aged 6-12 and aimed at conveying nanotechnology concepts through art and entertainment. Led by Joana Pi-Suñer and Oriol Roig, it gave to the young participants the occasion to learn about how the colour of things can change at different size scales and to create a stained glass out of colour paper.

In the second workshop, titled “VRainCom: Discover through virtual reality the graphene sensors that interact with the brain to restore speech”, Prof. José A. Garrido explained how modern neural implants based on graphene can be used to retrieve functionalities, such as the speech, in patients who have lost the control of some organs involved in them. The activity was coordinated by Àlex Argemí and Joana Pi-Suñer, with the collaboration of Dr Virginia Greco. Attendants had also the opportunity to explore some of the laboratories where this technology is developed by means of virtual reality. This was just a first tasting of the more exhaustive VR experience that the ICN2 is developing to explain the BrainCom project, led by Prof. Garrido, in science events and exhibition.