Science Slam

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February and March 2018

A Science Slam is a way to communicate science to a non-expert audience, a direct communication between scientists and the public.  In the given time frame – usually 10 minutes – the participating scientists have to present their projects in an appealing, understandable and entertaining way. Science Slams have the form of a competition and the audience gets to vote using numbered cards or by applauding. The concept was introduced by Alex Drepec in Darmstadt about 10 years ago. Today Science Slams take regularly place in almost every German university town but also in other countries.

Mr Michel Keller (ESR14 from IFPEN) has gradually become an expert in Science Slams, as he has already participated in two events, one in Darmstadt (24.02.2018) and one in Michelstadt (21.03. 2018). In both cases the audience was composed of students and public citizens from the city and the surrounding area. Among a broad field of participants, covering philosophy, geoscience and engineering, Mr. Keller held a presentation on the chemistry of combustion in a Diesel engine. He explained how auto-ignition in Diesel engines happens from a chemical viewpoint by drawing the picture of a crowded dance floor, in order to explain the high pressures and temperatures inside the engine.

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He also explained the necessity of a good fuel to air ratio inside the engine and explained which pollutants are produced, if the fuel to air ratio is not optimal. He then put into perspective his work as a chemical engineer explaining that his work consists of a better understanding of the chemical processes in engines in order to have more accurate models for engine development and to emit less pollutants.

In both events the audience showed its interest by applauding, voting or by asking for more information about Diesel technology and carbon based energy production. After the event in Michelstadt Mr Keller was approached by teachers that asked for his presentation in order to use it in the classroom. Mr Keller shared his presentation with them along with guidelines on how to photo-shop the molecules. A related article was published in the regional newspaper:
http://www.echo-online.de/lokales/odenwaldkreis/michelstadt/wissenschaft-als-spass_18612551.htm