September the Zero Science Festival: Mini-University for School Kids


Since September 1st is known as Knowledge Day in Russia, the day when the academic year begins. The September the Zero festival is like a sneakpeak into university life, for students who are still too young for University! The event is very popular amongst school students. In 2004, over 2,500 students participated in the event, and in 2015, over 6,000.

The festival is all about helping science and education to advance faster. “Progress has always depended on people who are creative and full of ideas for improving our lives,” explained the Governor of Krasnoyarsk Region, Mr. Viktor Tolokonsky who opened the festival.

This year’s festival was dedicated to the 55th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space, and thus  “space” was the theme of the festival. During the event, the participants had an opportunity to discover how to find life on other planets, how to study outer space, about robot-research, about experiments carried out in zero-g conditions and much more. The Governor further explained that “this field of science is connected to the most up-to-date knowledge, which can assist with developing other areas of our lives,” and that “this theme is particularly interesting for primary school students”.

ITMO had an interactive zone where they showed a chemical show and a Tesla show. There were also many workshops, lectures, quests and scientific debates that gave students a chance to learn many new things. There was a Science Slam were scientists battled it out explaining their work to the young students, including one Master’s student from ITMO, Vladimir Borisov, who talked about the science of invisibility.

R&D and labs were brought from OLIMP Union at ITMO University to the festival, including the High Voltage Laboratory and Optical Physics Workshop. “The students and especially parents were interested in OLIMP’s work. Parents were surprised that ITMO University gives opportunities  to get involved in technical creativity to school students as well.” explained Sergey Bogachev, public relations specialist from the Event Organization Office.

The Festival was a great opportunity for ITMO University to connect with Russian school students and their parents. “This is one of the strategic tasks at ITMO University” explained Mr. Bogachev.