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Future technologies up close: That was the Long Night of Science 2024


There was a lot stirring on the streets of Berlin on June 22, 2024: around 30,000 visitors who wanted to get to know Berlin's research mingled with the European Championship fans. Universities, colleges and other scientific institutions opened their doors between 5 p.m. and midnight to give visitors an insight into their research.

More than ten projects that use digital approaches to solve current social problems were on display at the ECDF alone: In the planning game ConnectiCity - a digital urban planning game - visitors were able to take on the role of urban planners and make decisions on greening and water use in order to design more resilient cities. The game illustrated how complex urban systems can be optimized using smart technologies. On the one hand, this involves the right planning for weather events such as heavy rainfall, but the game also includes social aspects such as the number of jobs in the assessment of resilience.

"At the LNdW, we try to show that digitalization research is more than just programming. We see digitalization as a tool, rather than an end: in my research area “Smart Water Networks”, for example, we are concerned with fostering climate-resilience and adaptation, with a focus on our cities. Digitalization provides great tools, but they should properly used to create positive impact.," explains Andrea Cominola, ECDF professor and ECDF board member, who played a key role in the development of the game.

The research area Digital Health was represented by two ECDF professors from Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin. With Professor Andreas Schwitalla, who holds the ECDF Professorship for Digital Implantology, it immediately got a little louder: with the help of a dental drill, which most visitors probably only knew as a patient, the guests were able to place implants themselves. The visitors used various attachments to drill holes in the plastic model of a jaw and then insert an implant. Next to it, Hanna Zimmermann, ECDF Professor for "Applied Research of the Visual System" since June 2022, presented her research, which uses digital tools to investigate changes in the retina of the eye caused by diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Last but not least, the Quantum Escape Challenge once again ensured long queues outside the Robert Koch Forum. Since last year, visitors have been able to immerse themselves in the fascinating world of quantum technologies and activate the quantum computer with an interactive puzzle. The Quantum Escape Challenge is also open to visitor groups outside the LndW (more information //here). "I think we have once again shown this year how diverse research on digitalization is in Berlin and how often it is already part of our everyday lives - without us constantly thinking about it. We are delighted that our research topics have been met with such great interest by Berliners," says Bettina Liedtke, Managing Director of the ECDF, summarizing the evening.

The Long Night of Science takes place every summer. From 5 pm to midnight, around 60 scientific and science-related institutions in Berlin invite visitors to take a look behind the scenes with spectacular experiments, exciting lectures, science shows and laboratory tours. The program is aimed at all age groups and offers special program items for schoolchildren. The next date has already been set: in 2025, the Long Night of Science will take place on June 28.