Young scientists defend their jobs The Scientific Cultural Centre, now closed, was visited by 250,000 people in 2023

A very fine-grained, silt-coloured rock with a leaf fossil carved into the stone at least 300 million years ago. This is what a young geology student holds in his hand. He also shows several rose quartz while explaining this Stones are like people: no two are alike Although technically they correspond to the same gender. He has those stones and several other stones arranged on the table. It shows a piece of solidified lava, a piece of magnetite, and a piece of rhodochrosite. “This is the national quarantine”, brings a young geologist to his side. A boy of about ten years old looks at the stone suspiciously. “But if it's patriotic, it should be light blue and white.”, points out with overall common sense. The challenge seems to fascinate the geologist, who answers: “Of course, but the story comes from another side.” Then he says itThe Capelitas mine, in Catamarca, is the only one in the world where rhodochrosite forms very long, pointed stalactites. “That's why it's the national stone, because there's no other similar formation anywhere else,” the geologist explains. The boy then asks his mother to take a picture of him with the young Rhodocroceta plant, the importance of which he now knows.

It's all happening under the Saturday afternoon sun at the Science Park in Godoy Cruz, Paraguay. Throughout the park there are different tables as there are many Young boys and girls They show things from nature and They explain complex issues about time, chance, the way metal transforms or passes tides, and their connection to the moon.. They are neither poets nor magicians. They are the next scientists in our country, and at this moment they are alert and mobilized because no one has told them yet what will happen to their work.

Overall, this can explain the conflict experienced by 72 undergraduate students from the Science Education and Communication Training Program working at the Cultural Center for Science (C3). What happens is thatHe left Sadeem's summer activities program And therefore also Scholarships for these young people are on standbyAlthough no member of the new administration has come forward to explain what is happening. “We are responsible for coordinating all activities of the Cultural Center, even summer activities. That is, we welcome the public and offer them guided tours. Now summer programming should begin. But no one has told us yet whether it will happen or not. That's why we're doing this day in the park, because our usual workplace C3 is closed. “Because no authority from the new government reached out to us,” explains Lola Feinstein, a biological sciences student at the University of Pennsylvania.

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A program to spread knowledge

The program began operating in 2016 through an agreement between the then Ministry of Science and Technology as a training body for advanced students in scientific and technical professions from three universities: UBA, Quilmes University and Universidad 3 de Febrero. In contrast, the building in which C3 operates is part of the scientific-technological pole of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires that was inaugurated by the then President Cristina Kirchner in 2011. Almost at the same moment of its opening, at the end of 2015, the C3 agreement was made with the universities. The above-mentioned Training young scholars through this interdisciplinary program that also includes students of history, political science, and arts.

The goal of the program is to create a comprehensive vision of science and bring it closer to the entire public.. The result was very positive: more than 250 thousand people from all over the country and tourists visited C3 last year, a record number of attendance for this cultural center which was open to the public with free admission every weekend, from Friday to Sunday, and received school students from Tuesday to Thursday, while training is offered on Monday. AndOver the past four years, it has received nearly 40,000 students from more than 1,000 primary and secondary schools across the country.

All this patient construction is now in limbo. The suspension of the C3 summer program led to the resignation of the head of Museums, Exhibitions and Exhibitions of the former Ministry of Science and Technology, Guadalupe Díaz Costanzo, on January 5. Since the change of government, the Publishing Center has remained under the administration of the Undersecretary of Science and Technology, Paula Naharniak, who relies on the Secretariat of Innovation, Science and Technology, which is integrated into the Prime Minister's structure.

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Knowledge as state policy

The work of these interns is paid. but, They are still due in December. To alleviate the situation, universities resorted in several cases to relying on their own funds. It is an emergency measure, however, that does not complement the cash reward, and clearly cannot be sustained over time. “The idea is to maintain a dialogue with the new authorities. Because we are here, because we want to do this work that we love and that trains us by bringing people closer to science. And because we want to reopen C3,” Feinstein says, as many people of all ages brave the heat to participate. On this publication day.

At one table, a group of biologists shows some children how to combine water and salt in a test tube to measure sea salinity levels. Since in addition to their composition they are adept, they mix water with cake coloring. Then the little tubes turn into little rainbows. Furthermore, the scholarship recipients have created a heterogeneous library containing books such as Opportunity and necessityBy the French biologist Jacques Monod, Talk about the method Descartes or ABC relativeBy philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell. While some walkers take shelter under the trees to read, in another part of the property there is a circle where scientists and research experts talk to people.. Among them are Rodrigo Lage, a Conisit researcher who works in the sensorimotor field; Doctor of Chemistry Valeria Edelstein, anthropologist María Inés Carabajal, and political scientist Pablo Méndez. “I thought scientists were kind of strange people, but they're like us,” whispered a man who might be his grandson, who asked these experts why so many scientists insist that the Earth is flat, sparking a very lively debate. Nearby, there are several stickers affixed to the C3 blind that read: “Knowledge is not expensive. Ignorance is expensive.”

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While the trainees are serving water, they tell people about the problem they are having related to their jobs and the summer program. In addition, they are distributing a QR to scan a petition about the change. An organization entitled “No to closing the scientific communication training program.” No to closing C3.” It reads: “As participants in the training program in the field of public communication and science education, developed at the Cultural Center of Science (C3), we want to convey our concern and uncertainty about the situation in which our space of work and training is located. We are more than 70 students from National Universities We are doing our work in science education and communication as museum guides, and we ask to reopen the center and resume our program, as well as payment for the work completed during the month of December 2023. He adds in a final paragraph: “Our mission is to communicate, promote and disseminate scientific culture, and at this moment we find ourselves with “Our workplace closed and our training program suddenly stopped.” The petition has so far collected around 4,500 signatures.

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