• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

Long Night of Research 2024 Sees Most Attendees So Far

4 June 2024
On Friday, 24 May at 17:00, the Vienna International Centre opened its doors to welcome enthusiasts of all ages for the Long Night of Research, an Austria-wide event promoting science and research. Soon after, the crowds began filling up the dedicated space housing 19 thematic displays hosted by Vienna-based United Nations organizations. The displays focused on how science and research are supporting peace and development around the world. The IAEA participated in the event with 11 displays covering a range of areas, from nuclear applications for peaceful purposes and the role of nuclear energy in combatting climate change, to how the IAEA helps protect people, society and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation, and the work of its safeguards in supporting global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Enthusiastic children and adults look on as experts show how the IAEA uses surveillance cameras and seals to verify that nuclear material and equipment remain in peaceful use, and how they swipe surfaces to collect traces of particles that reveal information about possible prior use of nuclear material at a location.  Visitors had the chance to become assistant safeguards inspectors for the evening, helping find mock uranium particles, open and close the Agency’s specialized cameras, and spot signs of nuclear activities from a satellite image.Onlookers learned about the Sterile Insect Technique, an environmentally friendly method to control pest populations, in a station that featured live insects! Not only is this method used to curb the transmission of deadly diseases from insects such as mosquitoes and Tsetse flies but also help countries reduce fruit flies damaging their crops, allowing them to access international markets. By sampling different types of water, members of the public had the chance to learn what influences the unique taste of rain, snow melt and river water. Isotope hydrology experts walked them through the different water cycle stages and how to determine the age of groundwater through the use of water isotopes. At this stand, IAEA experts showed participants how to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during operation in a simulated controlled area. They also demonstrated how radiation can be shielded with different materials depending on the type of ionizing radiation, how to measure various objects with a radiation detector to identify those emitting ionizing radiation, and how exposure to ionizing radiation is monitored. A Radiation Safety Technician demonstrates how a type of radioactive material that emits alpha particles interacts with other materials. The detector picks up these interactions and displays them as glowing pulses on a screen. On the table, there are pieces of different materials that can be placed between the radioactive source and the detector. These materials vary in thickness and type, from something as light as paper to something heavy like lead, to show how well they block or reduce the radiation. As we benefit from the many uses of nuclear technologies, be it in medicine, industry or science, we face the challenge of what to do with the waste that is generated from the use of radioactive sources. How to safely manage and dispose of said waste was the topic of discussion at this stand where experts held interactive demonstrations. Visitors could have a go too!It was an interactive event for all ages – here, youngsters are building their very own turbines, just like the ones used in nuclear reactors to create electricity. Later, they tested their knowledge on nuclear power’s role in mitigating climate change by taking an interactive quiz. A robot dog mesmerized youngsters as they witnessed it sitting, jumping and even shaking hands! The IAEA shared the space with other Vienna-based UN organizations; the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).The Vienna International centre’s doors closed on the night at 22:30, having seen more than 2300 people joining in the fun. The Long Night of Research takes place every two years, so in 2026, the IAEA will once again open its doors to welcome and inspire budding scientists back to another interactive night for all!

The Vienna International Centre welcomed over 2,300 people to the recent Long Night of Research - an Austria-wide event promoting science to people of all ages. This year's successful night saw the most VIC attendees so far, who enjoyed interactive displays at 19 different exhibits.

Last update: 7 June 2024

Stay in touch