This week Paderborn’s city centre is set to be transformed into an exciting interactive ideas lab: From 12 to 14 August 2021, children, young people and adults will have the opportunity to enjoy an exciting journey through the world of research – all the way through the past centuries to the digital future.

Under the motto “Expedition Science”, Paderborn’s science and research institutes, museums and cultural institutions, churches, associations and members of Paderborn’s urban community will be inviting visitors to join them live for questions, demos, trails and experiments and all the latest findings on a wide variety of topics and research areas. The “Expedition Science” is organised by Paderborn’s city marketing department, with the support of Paderborn University and the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum (HNF). We did the concept design for this new festival format.

An attractive and ambitious programme

Featuring some 80 different events and 154 stand-alone activities, “Expedition Science” promises a wealth of knowledge, fun and entertainment for young and old alike. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, a programme of guided tours, audio walks and walking tours, workshops, experiment stations, short lectures, plays, short films, rallies and much more will invite visitors throughout the city centre to join in, have a go, marvel and discover.

Whether physics or history, art, music or archaeology, computer science or mechanical engineering – thanks to the large number of participating institutions and broad range of topics, “Expedition Science” will have something for everyone. Visitors will, for example, be able to journey into Paderborn’s past on a tour of the city’s underworld, discover the world of mathematics and electrical engineering through sounds and tones in Paderborn Cathedral, programme their own computer games, examine the waters of the river Pader, build robots and machines, decipher hidden graffiti or wander around Charlemagne’s garden. Researchers young and old will have the chance to investigate the question of whether there’s a “Paderborn scent”, take off on a test flight with the flight simulator “Icaros”, learn about the world of computers, explore the treasure of Paderborn Cathedral with a torch or embark on a 1,000-year journey through time with an interactive sound installation in the Chapel of St. Bartholomew – and much more.

Corona Pandemic as part of the programme

The research journey will start at “base camp” on Franz-Stock-Platz, where visitors will not only find all the information they need about the event, but also a packed programme on all three days of the event. The Science Café, for example, will be hosting a series of talks on “Between innovation and chaos – what has the pandemic done to us?”, with people from different spheres giving their perspective on life during the Covid-19 pandemic. Speakers will include Dr Sierk Poetting, CFO, COO and member of the scientific advisory board at BioNTech, Professor Torsten Meier, Head of Anaesthesiology at the Brüderkrankenhaus hospital, and theatre director Katharina Kreuzhage. A further highlight on the programme will see Erwin Grosche present the “Miracles of Everyday Life” on Franz-Stock-Platz.

Prototype for a big Science Festival Paderborn 2023

Expedition Science” serves as a prototype for the “Science Festival,” which is to be launched for the first time in 2023 and then held every two years. The interactive and experience-oriented event format is intended to arouse curiosity and offer new, creative approaches to science and research. This year, the event concept has been adapted to the current situation: Offers that gather large crowds in one place are deliberately avoided – instead, program points distributed throughout the city center, which can also be visited in smaller groups, enable corona-compliant participatory activities. A total of 22 institutions from science, culture and urban society are actively involved in “Expedition Science”.