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University of Silesia in Katowice

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Summary of Cold Week in the City of Science

15.01.2024 - 12:56, update 22.01.2024 - 11:31
Editors: PK

| dr Marcin Łaciak |

In the late afternoon of 7 January 2024, we finished the first week of the European City of Science. How was it? What did we see and experience during this week? What have we learned about the use of cold and low temperatures in science and everyday life? We invite you to read a short summary and a journey through all the events during Cold Week.

We started Tuesday, 2 January, with lectures and workshops for children, during which the youngest participants had a lot of fun watching and conducting experiments using liquid nitrogen and dry ice. At noon, we moved to the Katowice market square to listen to a lecture on the life and achievements of mountaineer Jerzy Kukuczka at the Kato Science Corner. Those who wanted could take part in singing winter and Christmas songs together and admire an ice sculpture in the shape of the Katowice logo being created. After dark, the Azislight group – multiple winners of Polish fire theatre competitions – presented a show full of energy, light and fire. The artists’ craftsmanship was rewarded with thunderous applause from the numerous spectators.

The following days of the week included workshops and lectures for participants of all ages. A total of 24 lectures were held presenting issues related to cold and its use in medicine, biology, physics, mathematics, glaciology, mountain safety, literature, cultural studies and forensics. Participants could take part in 3 debates: ‘(Un)tamed Cold’, ‘Arctic Cold Day’ and ‘Winter swimming safety’.

The same areas of science were introduced to participants during 19 workshops carried out in academic classrooms in Chorzów, Katowice and Sosnowiec, as well as in nature. All classes were conducted by experienced teachers and specialists from the University of Silesia in Katowice, the Silesian University of Technology, the Medical University of Silesia, the University of Warsaw, the Institute of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Low Temperature and Structural Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław, SWPS University, the Laboratory of Living Education, TOPR rescuers and rescuers from the Medyk Rescue Team.

In addition, residents of the region had the opportunity to participate in two film screenings at the Światowid cinema, for which free tickets were provided for three educational screenings. They were led by: firefighters from the Szopienice Volunteer Fire Department, Kojotki Naprzód Janów Katowice as well as Przemysław Solich (Polish record holder for the longest total stay in icy water) and Maria Bodaja – members of a winter swimmers group who showed and explained what happens to the human body immersed in ice.

The special guest of the Cold Week was Valerjan Romanovski, PhD Eng. – multiple Guinness record holder, specialist in the impact of cold on the human body, who gave a lecture on conscious and responsible contact with cold. After the scientific part, participants could meet the guest and talk to him. Fans were also given the opportunity to get an autograph. The Cold Week ended with a shared swim in the Valley of the Three Ponds (in the winter weather!) together with the Katowice Winter Smimmers Club ARKTYKA and their guests invited from all over Poland.

The events of the entire week were attended by approximately 2,800 participants who actively took part in workshops and lectures. Everyone had fun while gaining knowledge.

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