A week of talks, meeting hundreds of superhero fans, and Portuguese media coverage.
Two weeks or so have passed since the spectacular adventure that was FIC.A in Portugal. Over the course of one week, I gave 13 talks about various topics in science and engineering grounded in the fictional world of superheroes and superpowers.
It was a science communication adventure like no other. Over the course of five days, I spoke to thousands of school students and the general public alike, and the reception was just incredible. I’ve presented in Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK, China, and the US about superheroes in the past, but I’ve never had an audience regularly cheer and applaud as I took them on a journey of scientific facts and possibilities.
But perhaps the most surreal experience of the whole week was the autograph hunters. Of course I’ve signed my books for people in the past, but after one talk the stage was stormed by more than 50 students seeking autographs, photographs, thanking me for the talk, and, most importantly, asking questions about science and where it could go in the future.
Science communication is all about presenting the critical elements of the scientific process in a manner that any audience can appreciate and ponder afterwards. During my presentations at FIC.A, the audiences didn’t see a single scientific graph or a complicated equation. Those details will come to those who pursue science further, but to grab the attention of the audience and invite them to the scientific celebration they’re not needed. But one thing is of paramount importance – a story.
Portuguese media coverage
My own personal adventures in the superhero genre garnered media attention while in Portugal. One article was featured in Sábado – a Portuguese weekly news magazine, and published just before I arrived in Portugal.
While at the festival I was approached by a journalist working for Público, a Portuguese national newspaper. After my first talk at the festival, I sat down with the journalist and told my superhero science origin story, a story that continues to grow and expand. And I must say that it was great to sit down and look back at where it all started.
As the festival closed on October 17th, I made my way to the airport for my flight back to the Netherlands. I dropped into a bookshop on the way to my gate and picked up a copy of that day’s issue of Público. I quickly flicked through the pages to find the article about my work, expecting a short story of no more than three or four paragraphs. To my surprise, my story had garnered a double-page feature story in the newspaper. Check it out below!
Focus shifts to Science Week 2021
Now, the focus shifts to Science Week 2021 in Ireland. It’s going to be a busy week or so giving presentations at schools and science festivals. Stay tuned for updates on my schedule, I’ve got a range of talks on the way, covering everything from flooding to running, and from Hollywood film science to biodiversity in Ireland. And of course there’ll be a few superhero talks too!
Always think super!