Soapbox Science 2023: women scientists take the floor at the heart of Brussels

Soapbox Science 2023: women scientists take the floor at the heart of Brussels

On Saturday, June 24, 2023, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., 12 women scientists in Belgium will tell you about their research during the Soapbox Science Brussels event at the Carrefour de l’Europe/Europakruispunt, in front of the Central Station.

Soapbox Science is a science outreach initiative that aims to promote the visibility of women and non-binary scientists and their research by bringing them on the streets to reach the public. Soapbox Science events transform public areas in discussion forums based on Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner where scientists, on their soapboxes, talk about their research to the people passing by.

Why women scientists? Even today, they constitute a minority in the research field, and their relative number dwindles as the seniority in the field increases. Recent research shows that women and non-binaries face a lot of obstacles from a very young age, notably due to strongly held stereotypes and biases related to the image of the scientist.

For those reasons, Soapbox Science aims at tackling stereotypes, and shows to the public that science is not a stereotypically smart and socially awkward man’s business and that anyone has the opportunity to enjoy science in an interactive way.

Soapbox Science was founded in 2011 in London, by Dr Seirian Sumner, from the University of Bristol, and Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, from the Zoological Society of London. The concept went on with great international success, with, during some years, more than 40 events in at least 13 countries.

This year will be the fourth edition for Brussels, after a first online event in 2020 that was broadcast live on social media, and two real-life events in 2021 and in 2022.

During the event, four soapboxes will be placed on the Carrefour de l’Europe/Europakruispunt in front of the Central Station of Brussels. On each soapbox, a speaker talks about their research and interacts with the public passing by, for the duration of an hour. Talks will be in French, Dutch and English, the most commonly used languages in Brussels. This year, we will explore the climate and pollution, using LED as a communication mean, insects for human alimentation, space weather, viruses and immune system, shrimps living in sea stars and snails!

Illustrations of a Soapbox Science event in Brussels in 2021 (on the left) and in 2022 (on the right). Credit: Soapbox Science Brussels.

Follow all updates on Twitter @SoapboxscienceB, and come to the Carrefour de l’Europe/Europakruispunt to hear them talk and to discover their fascinating cutting-edge research!

Details and programme of the event:

Soapbox Science Brussels is sponsored by the Royal Observatory of Belgium, the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, the Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, and Europlanet Benelux. It also has a support of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. The Royal Observatory of Belgium is the host institute of Soapbox Science Brussels.

Soapbox Science Brussels
Email: soapboxsciencebrussels AT
Twitter: @SoapboxscienceB