Explaining science in an understandable way for everyone becomes more important. This can be accomplished by applied research and young researchers have the know-how to break new ground - as demonstrated by doctoral students from Fachhochschule Dortmund - University of Applied Sciences and Arts at the DART Symposium "Science Communication - Communication in Science" on-site at the DASA and digitally in virtual worlds at the same time.
High-ranking lecturers and a panel discussion introduced the ongoing debates on science communication and doctoral students from universities of applied sciences from across Germany presented their research - live at the DASA and simultaneously in the virtual worlds using partly new and experimental formats.
Virtual realities for digital guests
Via the Internet browser - or preferably with the help of virtual reality glasses - the conference participants found themselves in a digital world that resembled a distant planet and depicted parts of the DASA. While Prof. Dr. Volker Helm, Vice Rector for Research, Development and Transfer at Fachhochschule Dortmund, welcomed the guests live at the DASA, his words were simultaneously broadcast in the virtual reality on a large screen with numerous avatars gathered in front of it.
"The digital participants were able to communicate with each other in this world and wander through the exhibition spaces as if they were live on site," reports Dr. Anneka Esch-van Kan, Coordinating Director of the Graduate Center at Fachhochschule Dortmund. If the avatars approached each other, their voices also became louder making conversations between two people or in smaller groups possible.
Research projects of doctoral candidates
The conference focused on the research projects of doctoral students. In the real and virtual world, they presented their work in sometimes unusual but mostly in unique ways: a science slam on the agricultural use of rock dust to improve soils, a photo love story on interpersonal communication and social discourse, a snippet video on Alzheimer's diagnostics. Two doctoral students from Fachhochschule Dortmund were successful at the "Young Science Communication Award", sharing the winner's podium with a doctoral student from Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS).
There were also expert talks and a panel discussion at the DART Symposium. In total, well over 150 researchers attended the conference on 26 November. The DART Symposium at Fachhochschule Dortmund takes place every two years.