Entry Title

Passion for Knowledge 2019 festival: set to mobilise 10,000 people

Seven Nobel laureates and other world-class experts who have led some of the most significant scientific discoveries in recent years are scheduled to participate in the Passion for Knowledge (P4K) 2019 festival, organised by the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC). A real luxury within the reach of everyone to go on learning and to promote a society with a greater scientific culture.

The Passion for Knowledge (P4K) 2019 festival will take place mainly in Donostia-San Sebastian from 30 September to 5 October 2019 with activities also scheduled in Bilbao, Pamplona and Bergara. The event is being organised by the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC).

Seven Nobel laureates plus other world-class experts, all of them leaders in some of the most significant scientific discoveries in recent years, are set to participate in this huge festival: it is a real luxury within the reach of everyone to be able to attend Plenary Lectures at the Victoria Eugenia theatre, the Guggenheim museum, or the Baluarte conference centre.

Guided by various Nobel laureates and prestigious international figures from a range of scientific disciplines, members of the public will be able to get a closer look at widely varying subjects such as astrophysics, cosmology, quantum physics, botany, smart biomaterials or palaeoanthropology. The invitees include Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the discoverer of pulsars; Barry Barish (2017 Nobel Prize winner in Physics), astrophysicist and expert on gravitational waves; Jean-Pierre Sauvage (2016 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry), the designer of molecular machines; Martina Martinon, the palaeoanthropologist and head of the National Research Centre into Human Evolution (CENIEH); and Serge Haroche (2012 Nobel Prize winner in Physics), the expert in quantum physics.

The International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is being celebrated in 2019 and Passion for Knowledge (P4K) will be paying tribute to one of its components: wolfram or tungsten (W), an element that was first isolated in the Basque town of Bergara by the Elhuyar brothers in 1786.

The Victoria Eugenia theatre will also be hosting the show Bertso Passion that will be interweaving the unique perspective of scientists with the beauty and talent of the verses sung by the extempore Basque verse makers Maialen Lujanbio, Andoni Egaña and Amets Arzallus; plus the well-known Naukas Passion sessions in which some of the most well-known popularisers from across Spain will be participating. In addition, the Creativium exhibition will also be inaugurated within the festival framework; this is an interdisciplinary project inviting reflection on the creativity of the individual and its different facets. Students in secondary education and the sixth form will get to meet leading researchers in the huge Encounters due to be held during this fourth edition of the festival in San Donostia-Sebastian and Bilbao, with about 100 schools from across the Basque Country participating. “The main aim of these meetings is to encourage youngsters to take up scientific and technological studies, and to awaken their passion for knowledge,” stressed Pedro Miguel Etxenike, Chairman of P4K 2019. In addition, on Saturday morning the Sala Club of the Victoria Eugenia theatre will be hosting Passion Txiki, a mini science festival for children that will include workshops on experiments, scientific storytelling, games, etc. Then, given the growing importance of the dissemination of science across society, this edition of P4K has been keen to programme training activities in popularisation geared towards the young scientific community: Training for PhD students. An international summer school geared towards the scientific community and young researchers in particular will be run: Dynapeutics.

The organisers are deeply grateful for the economic support of the organisations that have made this festival possible: “Passion for Knowledge 2019 has been possible thanks to the ongoing support of the patrons of the DIPC (Basque Government –Department of Education, and Department of Economic Development and Competitiveness–, the Chartered Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, Donostia-San Sebastian City Council, Kutxa, Telefónica, EDP and CAF), as well as specific funding from the Department of Education of the Basque Government through its BERC programme. The festival has also received funding from the FECYT, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology –Spanish Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness, and has received the special collaboration of the CFM and CIC nanoGUNE research centres.

The DIPC head Ricardo Díez Muiño was keen to highlight the fact that “Passion for Knowledge is one of the best festivals on science popularisation in the world; and that was not expressed by us but by one of the speakers in this edition, William Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University”.

To end the presentation, Pedro Miguel Etxenike highlighted the idea that has always guided the DIPC, “science as a cultural, economic and aesthetic value”, and he recalled the words of the late French astronomer André Brahic: “the history of scientific ideas provides excellent schooling in doubts, humility, rigour, honesty and a spirit of criticism, the main qualities at the service of the passion for knowledge”.

All the activities scheduled during the festival will be free of charge. There will be an interpretation service in Basque, Spanish and English and the main sessions will be streamed live over the festival’s website. Anyone wishing to participate in the various activities of Passion for Knowledge (P4K) 2019 is advised to register and reserve a place via the festival website: p4k.dipc.org.