サイエンスカフェを開催 / Organize a Science Cafe
We organized a Science Cafe, an institutional public free event. The theme was "genes and DNA." The participants tried extraction of DNA from bananas, and staining and microscopic observation of the nuclei in HEK293 cells. Also, I gave a talk about the genes, the discovery of DNA as a genetic material, the features of the DNA double helix, DNA replication, and the genetic code. My family participated in this event to show what the heredity is, and a lot of my kids' friends were there too. Talking to non-scientists, even kids, is quite a challenge. It really requires a special skill. You definitely do not want to tell a lie, but too much details would hinder people's understanding the whole picture. There is a thin line there. I spent so much time preparing for this event that I almost forgot what my real job is (well, I guess that IS my real job as an employee of the Institute).
However, after seeing the participants really having fun with the experiments, I convinced myself it was worthwhile. Perhaps, I will never see just a normal centrifuge attracting that much attention from so many people again. The extraction of DNA from bananas and the nuclear staining were all successful. It was truly delighting to see kids were happy and excited. I wish our experiments in the lab everyday could be as successful as they are..., but that is not the way it is (and that is why it is interesting as well).
To organize this event, I got a lot of help from the lab members, admin people, students, and people kindly lent us mixers to puree the bananas. I appreciate all of them. I hope the participants had a great time at the event.