«Night at NSU»: Hold a Mammoth by the Heel

Touch a mammoth heel, look at the smallest bone in the human skeleton and stroke a friendly rat with Siamese coloring, that is far fr om a complete list of opportunities that were provided at the «Night at NSU» on November 25th.

That evening several hundred people could see with their own eyes that science exists not only in textbooks or in documentary films. It is created by living people, scientists at NSU, able to explain even the most complicated things in simple, popular language. It says something that the event attracted visitors of all ages fr om preschool children accompanied by parents, to pensioners who wanted to spend a useful evening.

The «Night at NSU» tour started at 18:00 and was extensive. For example, at the Department of Cytology and Genetics FEN, everyone was allowed to hold a bone from the mammoth's heel and see the canines of a bear that lived on our planet 5 thousand years ago. At the Physiology Division of the Institute of Medicine and Psychology (IMP), blood pressure was measured and visitors could hold a frog as well as a very well-fed and sociable laboratory albino rat and a Siamese rat. The IMP prepared a short exploration of human anatomy that included showing the smallest bones in the ear. The Geophysics and Geology Department hosted several expositions including an exhibition of minerals and a geodynamics and paleomagnetism laboratory for central and eastern Arctic wh ere the magnetization of Arctic rocks reveals the location of the continents many thousands of years ago. In addition, sightseers could peek into the NSU Museum to see an exhibition of rare revolutionary literature and to be photographed with a huge bust of Vladimir Lenin. Overall, the scientific evening included ten visitor locations that took two hours if you wanted to experience all of them.

The «Nights at NSU» tour generated a lot of positive emotions among those who were lucky to participate.

Andrew, a graduate of the Natural Sciences Department said:

– I not only liked the program, but also the opportunity to return to my University. I graduated more than ten years ago, it was wonderfully nostalgic to walk along the corridors and also to see what has changed. Among what I saw the most impressive people were from the Department of Archeology and Ethnography who showed how you can perform modern domestic tasks with the help of stone tools, cutting meat for example.

Danil Smirnov decided not to be lazy and came from the neighboring town of Berdsk. He heard about the Night and decided to go with friends and did not regret it. Smirnov described his emotions from «Night at NSU»:

– I knew about NSU, of course, but I was never inside and today was here. All my doubts about the department wh ere I was thinking of studying have gone away. I'm delighted with what the geologists demonstrated. It seems to me you can stare at a stone rose forever. And most importantly, I see how enthusiastic my peers are here. Everything you see is really inspiring!

The science party «Night at NSU» was the bright final chord to the Days of Scientific Cinema (DSC) at NSU. This event, a subsidiary project of the Festival of Actual Science Cinema, has become a University tradition since it began in 2015. Before the University tour the film «Music of Unnecessary Things» that is dedicated to an unusual orchestra was shown. The orchestra members created musical instruments from things found in the dump, and turned waste into art. After the showing, the audience had a discussion with expert scientists.

Tatiana Cherkashina, a Days of Science Cinema expert, Candidate of Sociological Sciences, Associate Professor and Head of the Division of General Sociology at the NSU Economics Department, and Senior Researcher at the Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering, shared her impressions: 

– The days of movies about science are over, and I'm already waiting for next year’s event. DSC has been developed to ensure that everyone who watches the films, goes beyond the boundaries of his usual, everyday world. I'm glad the organizers invited me to discuss «Music of Unnecessary Things». The film is a multifaceted and magnificent illustration of the theories of social mobility. I don’t think that it is worth expecting DSC films to provide a popular retelling of some theories, but to show reflections on them, examples from life, to provoke interest in something. That is what makes it worth organizing and watching DSC films.

Photos by Svetlana Yerygina