— Cultural Sources of Newness

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Tag "science slam"

There were two good reasons to go to the WZB last Wednesday: to walk under the blossoming cherry trees and to attend the science slam. Although the trees bloom every year, each time their appearance transforms the garden, and indeed the blossoms change from day to day. The phenomenon repeats itself and yet is new each time I see it. The science slam idea was first launched at the WZB on January 23 2013  and this week we had the second event with a different set of participants and a few changes in the process. So it, too, was a repetition and a new experience.

Cherry blossoms at WZB, May 8 2013 (Photo ABA)

Cherry blossoms at WZB, May 8 2013 (Photo ABA)

Repetition can in and of itself consist of newness and it can be part of a process of valorizing a new practice as an innovation worth pursuing. The cherry blossoms speak for themselves, but what can be said of the value that the second science slam at the WZB added?

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“You learn something new every day” is an age-old expression, and it was certainly true today: I had the time of my life learning about and from my first science slam at the WZB.  Instead of going to lunch, we had an hour’s worth of stimulating brain food from four political scientists who rose courageously to the challenge of presenting their new research ideas “in an entertaining and understandable way” in max 10 minutes, as the showmaster from SO36 strictly instructed. Until a week ago, I had not even heard the concept “science slam”, so I was very curious. The WZB’s main conference room filled fast with equally curious colleagues from all departments.

Standing room only at first WZB Science slam January 23 2013

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