Playing at being Einstein

A call to take science into the streets? That was the goal of Stas, a peculiar science fair in Alicante. The relativity group of the UIB could not miss it.
May 17, 2012

From 10 to May 12 was held Street Science Alicante, which brought together scientists and science popularizers of many scientific disciplines. The aim was to bring science closer to the people in a much more fun and lighthearted way than it is usually done. Our group wanted to be there and we decided to set up a video games stand called "Playing at being Einstein."

Designing a gravitational waves detector with the game "Space Time Quest", listening to the "sounds" of black holes with the "Black Hole Hunter" or pretending to be a black hole with the "Black Hole Pong" were the main activities in our stand. And also talk, talk a lot about black holes, relativity, parallel universes, the Big Bang ... People approached our booth with many questions and we loved this opportunity to discuss these issues.

Younger kids enjoyed especially the Black Hole Pong, in which using Xbox controllers you can play a cosmic pong, with black holes, stars... and even wormholes! But some of them also chose to playe Time Space Quest, a much more complex game, and they loved it!

Apart from the games, we also projected the documentary "Einstein's Messengers". And although it was not among the planned activities, we ended up giving a talk to 6 years old kids, to whom we talked a little about astronomy. They showed great curiosity about the subject and they did have a lot of questions.

Space Time Quest and Black Hole Pong have been developed by the Gwoptics project by members of the group of gravitational waves from Birmingham (UK). The game has been translated into Spanish and Catalan by our group. Black Hole Hunter was developed by scientists at Cardiff University with the support of other groups in the GEO collaboration. It has also been translated into Spanish by our group. The first two games can be downloaded free of charge and the third can be played online.

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