What is the similarity between a trotting horse lamp and an aero engine? Who helped transform Beijing's air quality and sky from hazy to crystal blue? How would AI change the way we live?... Answers to these questions and more were found at a New Year's Eve Event hosted by the Beijing Association for Science and Technology (BAST) as part of the association's New Year of Science project to welcome 2024.
The BAST has hosted the New Year of Science Eve Event for several consecutive years. The event integrates science communication into festive culture to help enhance public confidence in technological self-reliance and self-improvement while creating a social atmosphere that advocates for science, Chen Weicheng, vice president of BAST, told the Global Times.
The event combines science popularization with traditional festivals, showcasing China's achievements in technological innovation and providing the public with a deep understanding of these accomplishments. In particular, it aims to captivate and engage young people by revealing the charm and mysteries of science, according to Chen.
In recent years, the BAST has been dedicated to the development of the Beijing International Science and Technology Innovation Center. It actively organizes scientific popularization activities in the capital to enhance public scientific awareness. It also strengthens collaboration with international organizations and institutes.
Chen mentioned that the association has already identified 100 science education experience bases and introduced 30 scientific-themed tourist routes in Beijing. Additionally, the BAST extensively mobilizes various social forces to participate in large-scale science popularization events such as Science and Technology Week, Science Fiction Conference, Science Popularization Day, New Year of Science Eve, and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Citizen Science Literacy Competition.
According to Chen, the Beijing Science Carnival alone attracted over 1,200 organizations to host more than 2,000 activities, reaching a total audience of 22.6 million people. Additionally, there was a total reading volume of 1.73 billion relevant reports and materials. In 2022, Beijing ranked first in the country in terms of citizen science literacy.
Regarding international exchanges and cooperation in science communication, the BAST has established a well-developed working mechanism and organized a series of influential international science and technology communication activities.
Since 2019, the BAST has initiated the "Beijing International Science Communication Week," which has become a significant platform for inspiring new ideas, proposing new concepts, and exploring new paths in science communication both in China and abroad. For instance, the 2023 Beijing International Science Communication Week took place in September at Shougang Park. Over 600 representatives from the global scientific community, science communication field, and science education field collaborated to share stories of global technological innovation and scientific culture.
The event is aimed to promote experience and resource sharing in science communication and unite global efforts to enhance public scientific literacy, Chen said.
Looking ahead, the BAST will prioritize the development of the Beijing International Science and Technology Innovation Center. It will foster exchanges and cooperation among science communication institutions and engage in cross-cultural science communication to effectively promote the global dissemination and advancement of science and technology, Chen noted.