Varna Science Festival being held from November 11 to 13

Bulgaria’s Beautiful Science Foundation is organising the Varna Science Festival, being held from November 11 to 13 at the Festival and Congress Centre in the Black Sea city.

The Beautiful Science Foundation was established by the British Council in Bulgaria and Forum Democrit. I’s aim is to develop the science festivals in the country and present Bulgarian and international researchers to audiences across Bulgaria.

Events in English:

November 12, 4.30pm to 5.30pm: Green-blue sunset on Mars, a hidden Klimt and other chemical stories

Professor Dr. Franz Renz from the Leibniz University, a member of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission Spirit und Opportunity, investigates the Martian surface since 2004.

Join him to hear about the green-blue Martian sunsets, several other scientific highlights and exciting stories around the mission of the two rovers.

The 140cm tall rovers are driven by solar power. Like a geological scientist the rovers have got some scientific devices like the MIMOSII to identify minerals, e.g. Jarosit, which grows only in liquid water and proved that the Mars was once a blue planet.

The same MIMOSII device revealed a hidden artwork around Gustav Klimt.

This is an exclusive screening for visitors at the venue and was filmed in a recent live event. In partnership with the Austrian embassy.

November 12, 8.30pm to 9.30pm, at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Observatory: Science in the City: Stargazing

Stroll over to Varna’s own Observatory amidst the Sea Garden and look at Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the Moon through their telescope. The event is in Bulgarian and English.

This event is, obviously, dependent on suitable weather.

November 13, 4.30pm to 5.30pm, Cosmos Hall in association with A1: On the Edge of Time/Space: Capturing the First Image of a Black Hole

Dr. Dominic Pesce is an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics studying black holes, radio astronomy, and observational cosmology.

Pesce is part of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) collaboration, an international team of researchers working to capture the highest-resolution images of black holes and other astronomical objects.

In his presentation, Pesce will walk us through the history of the EHT, describe how many individual radio dishes around the world can be linked together to operate as a single Earth-sized telescope, and recount the journey of how astronomers were able to use this network of telescopes to capture the first image of a black hole.

This event will be an exclusive screening of a recent live event, only available for audiences at the festival. In English without translation.

In partnership with the embassy of the United States.

November, 8pm (GMT+2), seated anywhere in front of a mirror and logged online on Zoom: The Mirror Trap
For adult audiences, in English only.

Paul Gato has been through a lot. He has been signed off from the university again. His colleagues say he has not been himself. He has been sending them e-mails filled with ramblings and Feynman diagrams. He said: “There is nothing more dangerous than being trapped between mirrors”. Paul might be losing his mind, but he might still be right. Dare you take part in his final experiment?

An online immersive experience for headphones and a mirror.

The Mirror Trap is a short headphone play/experience/installation/horror story about psychology
and quantum physics. Previous audience members have described it as “weird”, “trippy”, “deeply unsettling”; and “terribly sad”. It is quite meditative in tone, so don’t expect any jump scares. Some viewers may find some of the content triggering.

After the show, its creator, British biologist, writer and science communicator Simon Watt, will be joined by his two Bulgarian guests, neuropsychiatrist Neda Lapteva and physicist Plamen Ivanov, to discuss what you have experienced.

Running time: 45 minutes (including post-show)

How will it work?

All ticket holders will be contacted before the show with details of how to access the Zoom link and instructions on how to take part, prior to the event.

Do I need anything to take part?

To get the most out of this event it is recommended that you have the following:

  • a whiteboard marker
  • headphones
  • a mirror, at least large enough to see all your face, that you can look into while taking part.

Who are the presenters?

Simon Watt is a biologist, writer, science communicator and TV presenter. Although best known for presenting the BAFTA-winning documentary series Inside Nature’s Giants and the Channel 4 special The Elephant: Life After Death, he spends most of his time taking science-based performances around the country. He has also written dozens of articles for national newspapers and websites including The Times and the Huffington Post. In Bulgaria he is also known for his participation at the Sofia Science Festival where he presented his book “Ugly Animals” published by the Iztok-Zapad publishing house. You can find out more about Simon from his website.

Neda Lapteva was awarded her MSc in Clinical Neuropsychiatry at Kings College London this year. She received a First Class Degree, with distinctions including distinction on her dissertation thesis which investigated the sleep onset period. She was only 16 when she won the international “Question for Stephen Hawking Competition” of the Starmus global festival of science communication and art that brings together the most brilliant minds on the planet and attended an event where she personally met Prof. Hawking. Neda was a Volunteer at the Sofia Science Festival.

Plamen Ivanov studied Mathematics at the National High School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and then graduated with a BA in Mathematics and an MSci in Physics from the University of Cambridge. He has since relocated to the University of Oxford where he completed his PhD in Theoretical physics in 2021. He remained there as a postdoc working on plasma physics and magnetic confinement fusion. Plamen is among the prize winners of FameLab Bulgaria.

For details about tickets and further information, please visit the website of the Beautiful Science Foundation.

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