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The Hungarian Science Festival begins

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The Hungarian Science Festival begins

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The Hungarian Science Festival begins on Friday, during which the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) awaits those interested with hundreds of science popularization programs for a month outside the border, in the countryside and in the capital.

This year, the MTA’s 20-year event series will be organized under the motto “Science: answers to global challenges” and one of its main topics will be artificial intelligence.

According to the Academy’s announcement, in addition to artificial intelligence, the war in Ukraine will be discussed, some important dimensions of sustainability, environmental protection topics will be discussed, a literary historian will help you navigate the Petőfi legend, and it will also be revealed: why the Nobel Prize in physics went to research results related to atomic seconds.

Due to the renovation of the MTA headquarters, the events in the capital city of the program series, which can be visited for free, will be held in the Research House of the Human Sciences this year.

The opening ceremony of the one-month event is hosted by one of the MTA’s regional committees every second year. This year, Szeged will be the host. Anna Erdei, the Deputy Secretary General of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the President of the MTÜ Program Council, greets those gathered first, but Tamás Freund, the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, also gives a speech.

On November 6th, the series of special events known as the Science Festival+ will begin, which interested parties can follow not only on the spot, but also live, and also watch a recording. In the Tudományünnep+ program again this year, the contributors will work on the topics of most interest to the public in a dynamic style.

As part of the program, among other things, linguist and mathematician Gábor Prószéky will give a lecture on how ChatGPT works, what it is good for, and how dangerous it is, and evolutionary biologist Eörs Szathmáry will present the real dangers of artificial intelligence from an evolutionary point of view. György Csepeli’s presentation examines the positive and negative possibilities of the superintelligence predicted by Nick Bostrom in the age of uncertainty. Literary historian and writer Róbert Milbacher shows what the legends surrounding the life of Sándor Petőfi mean from the point of view of the culture of a community, and what reality cultural beliefs are nourished by.

The 150th anniversary of the unification of Pest, Buda and Óbuda will be commemorated by an all-day, interdisciplinary conference, with the help of Tünde Császtvay, with the presentation of the nighttime, “untidy, slovenly” face of 19th-century Budapest. The presentation reveals, for example, that due to the unusually fast pace of Budapest’s development into a metropolis, mass prostitution and its far-reaching consequences have grown into one of the biggest social problems within a few decades.

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Ferenc Krausz and two French researchers for their “rapid imaging” of processes in the world of atoms and molecules. At the event, laser physicist Péter Dombi, a student of Ferenc Krausz, will demonstrate how lasers can be used to take photos of the ultrafast movement of electrons, and how these important basic research results can be put to the service of social goals, for example for the early diagnosis of cancer. Ferenc Krausz will join the presentation via a conference call. In addition to the Hungarian researcher, another Nobel laureate laser physicist, Gérard Mourou, will also give a lecture at the event entitled Extreme light pulses in the service of science and society.

The featured speakers also include hydrogeologist Péter Szűcs, who presents the challenges of using groundwater, and fish researcher Balázs Szendőfi gives a lecture on the “river-killing” effects of dams. Biologist-economist Zsófia Benedek explores whether the production and consumption of local food really contributes to the sustainability transition. Ferenc Kaiser, associate professor of the National Public Service University, will give a lecture on the current stage of the conflict in Ukraine, and the theoretical and regional issues of the changing world order will also be discussed.

The lectures, as well as the opening ceremony of the event in Szeged on Friday, will be broadcast live on the MTA’s YouTube channel, the complete program of the series of events is available on the tudomanyunnep.hu website. According to the information, all programs, including informative lectures for lay audiences, can be visited free of charge, but due to the limited number of places, registration is required.

The Hungarian Science Festival has been organized since 2003, commemorating the fact that on November 3, 1825, István Széchenyi offered one year’s income from his estates to found the Society of Scientists, the predecessor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA).

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