Do you ever ask yourself what the world will look like 20 years from now? How will we live then? With the “Science Express” exhibition train we want to give all of our visitors, and young people in particular, a general idea of which scientific fields are evolving globally in a particularly dynamic and promising way, and how they will influence our lives in the coming two decades.
However, it is not just the aim of the science train to make research and development attractive to young people as a future career option. The “Science Express” would basically like to show how we need today’s natural and life sciences to ensure a positive future for both ourselves and our entire civilisation. Science and research, which contribute almost three percent to Germany’s national value creation, constitute an independent sector of the economy – not just in Germany. Research has long been carried out in a context of international competition. The research topics are not just very exciting in themselves, the results achieved will also help in achieving the breakthrough to a sustainable economic and social model.
Science and technology have a particularly important role to play in a country as poor in natural resources as Germany. This will be even truer in the future when many of the Earth’s natural resources run low and will no longer be able to meet the needs of a growing global population. This trend concerns not only oil, natural gas, food and drinking water, but other resources such as low-grade ores, salts for fertilisers and medically-relevant natural materials.
The “Science Express” abducts its visitors into the world of tomorrow and provides forward-looking information about topics and developments that are only emerging. As a result, it is not concerned with explaining information that is already available in a better way or justifying certain technologies. The focus is on emerging trends and possibilities that are first coming into view and that must be faced up to. The future is being shaped today.
Research Expedition Germany
The exhibition train is part of the “Science Year 2009 – Research Expedition Germany” and conceived in a way that makes it particularly suited to reaching the maximum possible number of citizens and young people over a wide geographical area in a short period of time. With its twelve carriages, the “Science Express” provides sufficient space for a comprehensive presentation of its topics. Almost all of Germany’s large and medium-sized cities and even remoter regions can be easily reached by train. Inside the train, the exhibition unfolds its completely innovative design and architecture, presenting a combination of multimedia presentations, interactive exhibits, spectacular objects and even a complete hands-on laboratory where visitors can marvel at their own discoveries. The exhibition provides a snapshot from the world’s laboratories and experimentation halls and enables its visitors to witness a development process whose dynamics are usually hidden. The presentation had to be staged in an extremely short period of time: it reflects the beating pulse of the times, which no country, region or city can avoid in the long term.
Idea and concept
The idea and concept for the exhibition were developed by a project team from the Max Planck Society; the exhibits and information were obtained from a wide range of partners from the science and business sectors. The exhibition design and scenography were created by the ArchiMeDes agency, which also assembled the exhibition. The tour plan, comprising over 60 towns and cities, was compiled in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway company. In the meantime, there are an increasing number of partners who wish to provide support for the “Science Express” on its stopover in their cities.
The narration of the topics is experienced in a process similar to walking through a book. After the prologue in the first carriage, visitors are made aware of developments in basic research, which provide additional inspiration for the work carried out in all of the other sectors. In the next six carriages, visitors learn more about how medicine and nutrition, our lifestyles, our work and our ways of communicating will change in the years to come. Digitisation, miniaturisation and personalisation are the keywords that describe the complex changes taking place in products and services. Finally, carriage 11 invites visitors to consider the new opportunities offered by science and research, as well as the conditions necessary to ensure that, where possible, this potential can be of benefit to all.
We would be delighted if the “Science Express” inspires you to think about your own and our common future. It would be wonderful to hear how you imagine your own personal future will shape up.
Please write to us!