POPULAR TALK: Science Day 2019 (video)

On Wednesday, July 10, the Big Hall of the Students’ Cultural Center was the venue for a special popular talk by which the Institute of Physics, Belgrade, marked this year’s Science Day. The turnout demonstrated that Belgrade science fans are keen on attending popular science talks even during summer months

By an ordinance of the Government of Serbia, Nikola Tesla’s birthday, July 10, has been celebrated as Science Day since 2010. In the past years, it provided an opportunity for organizing a series of events dedicated both to the life and work of Nikola Tesla and to science in Serbia.

The popular talk organized on this Science Day by the Institute of Physics as part of the Science Through Stories initiative was different from the ones held on a regular basis throughout the year. Instead of giving lectures, the guest speakers gave interesting presentations aimed at presenting both the current and future state of local science in answer to the question from the title of the popular talk, “Can Science Change Serbia?”

“It is realistic to expect that in the coming period more funds will be earmarked for science”, said Prof. Vladimir Popović, State Secretary For Science of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, adding that “one of the means of doing it more efficiently is to establish a Science Fund.” He also pointed out the recent passing of the new Science and Research Act as well as recent investments and innovations.

Along with the topics related to the administrative framework and changes in the science sector, the participants also addressed the issue of new educational paradigms. “In Renaissance Italy, Verrocchio’s workshop produced geniuses,” said in a short, inspiring speech Dr. Aleksandar Bogojević, Director of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade, an institution of national importance for the Republic of Serbia, where a new educational and innovation center, called after Verrocchio, will soon be housed. “The workshop’s example shows that any city of 50,000 inhabitants can produce ten geniuses provided the creative spirit is spread. This is exactly the reason behind the establishment of the Verrocchio Center at the Institute of Physics.”

“In today’s world, when technologies are fast developing, the objective is to realize as quickly as possible what is needed in the market,” said Gordana Danilović Grković, Acting Director of the Science Technology Park, Belgrade, and pointed out the development of the so-called innovative ecosystem and the strengthening of new technological companies, whose number has significantly grown, particularly in the IT sector.

“The foundations of global robotics were set in Serbia,” said Dr. Kosta Jovanović, roboticist from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Belgrade. “The greatest impact on everyday life is expected from household robots and in order that the robots doing housework instead of us might function in our environment they have to perform actions similar to ours,” Jovanović explained, adding that the team led by his mentor had had the opportunity of working on the problem. He also pointed out that such research might be initiated in Serbia and had already attracted the attention of the economy.

“At the Innovation Center of the Institute of Physics, we have developed a technology that we named after Nikola Tesla,” said Dr Marija Mitrović Dankulov, Head of the Innovation Center of the Institute of Physics. In her presentation, she tried to answer the question of how an idea can have an impact not only on the market, but on researchers and their institutions as well. “Teslagram protects from forgery using the scales from butterfly wings, which are virtually unique. I believe this technology will have an impact on society.”

The moderators of the popular talk were Marija Đurić and Slobodan Bubnjević, editors of the Science Through Stories. Between the presentations, the members of the audience could see a number of interesting excerpts from Serbian and foreign films on Nikola Tesla, and at the end of the event they joined the discussion on science in Serbia by asking questions.

PHOTOS: Bojan Džodan – IPB