Maanus Kullamaa

Our scientists were recognized for science popularization

On November 11, the Estonian Research Council presented this year's science popularization awards. Two recognitions came to our institute.

Estonian science popularization awards are given with the aim of encouraging scientists to talk and write more about science in society. Traditionally, the awards are presented at the end of the year at a science communication conference. This year's conference, which took place in the VSpa conference center in Tartu, was titled "Science communication moves...".

Professor Andres Metspalu from the Institute of Genomics and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology of the University of Tartu received the Tiiu Sild Lifetime Achievement Award for his long-term systematic work in the popularization of science and technology.

Andres Metspalu founded the Estonian Biobank. He encouraged the establishment of the gene technology curriculum in Estonian higher education. His science popularization activities should also be associated with explaining the importance of scientific results to politicians, as well as introducing genes and DNA to the general public.

For the popularization of science and technology through the printed word, a series of popular scientific articles published by the scientific collective coordinated by Sulev Kuuse in the journal Eesti Loodus received the II prize. The series introduces scientific and technological achievements that seem difficult to non-scientists in a simple and understandable language.

The group of authors that won the II prize: 
Sulev Kuuse (IMCB, head of the vivarium, the author of the idea and the coordinator)
Toivo Maimets (IMCB, professor of cell biology)
Osamu Shimmi (IMCB, professor of developmental biology)
Tambet Tõnissoo (IMCB, associate professor of developmental biology)
Dmitri Lubenets (IMCB, engineer)
Karl Jürgenstein (IMCB, PhD Student)
Artjom Stepanjuk (IMCB, PhD Student)

The award-winning collective started the series of popular scientific articles introducing the methods of microscopy and molecular biology in general in the magazine Eesti Loodus (Estonian Nature) last year. Nine popular science articles have been published in the series so far. The main focus of the articles published under the auspices of "Help for the teacher" has been "white biology", more specifically bioimaging, microscopy, or methods to look inside cells.

The newly awarded colleagues have close contact with teachers and students of the schools through several experiences of cooperation. This gives them a good overview about the general level and bottlenecks of students' and teachers' knowledge of biology. The basis for developing interest in science is understanding the material. Teachers miss comprehensive science texts written in a popular science style, which could also be used to provide students with a first exposure to a science text in their native language.

1.    Lubenets, Dmitri; Maimets, Toivo; Kuuse, Sulev (2021). Abiks õptajale: Kuidas valguse abil looduse detaile vaadelda? Eesti Loodus, 07, 40−44.
2.    Lubenets, Dmitri, Maimets, Toivo, Kuuse, Sulev (2021). Abiks õpetajale: Kuidas näha elusate rakkude sisse? Eesti Loodus, 08, 56−60.
3.    Lubenets, Dmitri; Maimets, Toivo; Kuuse, Sulev (2021). Abiks õpetajale: Superlahutusmikroskoopia: vatleme detaile raku sees. Eesti Loodus, 09, 66−69.
4.    Lubenets, Dmitri; Maimets, Toivo; Kuuse, Sulev (2021). Abiks õpetajale: Kuidas loendada rakke? Eesti Loodus, 10, 64−67.
5.    Stepanjuk, Artjom; Maimets, Toivo; Kuuse, Sulev (2021). Abiks õpetajale: Elektronmikroskoopia lubab näha rakkude siseehituse pisiasju. Eesti Loodus, 12, 68−72.
6.    Osamu Shimmi; Tambet Tõnissoo; Sulev Kuuse (2022). Abiks õpetajale: Biokuvamine: kuidas uuridas eluprotsesse reaalajas. Eesti Loodus, 05, 68-69.
7.    Osamu Shimmi; Tambet Tõnissoo; Sulev Kuuse (2022). Abiks õpetajale: Elusa raku talitus huvitab nii biolooge kui ka arste. Eesti Loodus, 06, 74-76.
8.    Karl Jürgenstein, Sulev Kuuse (2022). Abiks õpetajale: Hulgas peitub jõud – PCR. Eesti Loodus, 10, 52-55.
9.     Karl Jürgenstein, Sulev Kuuse (2022). Abiks õpetajale: Polümeraasi ahelreaktsioon: teadlase, arsti ja kriminalisti kindel abiline, 11, 54-56.

The award is funded by the Ministry of Education and Research and is issued by the Estonian Research Council with the Estonian Academy of Sciences.


Photo: awarding ceremony, November 11, by Maanus Kullamaa

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