Zespół Działu Edukacji i Szkoleń NCBJ (Foto: Andrzej Bigos / NCBJ)

The Science Popularizer Main Award goes to the Education and Training Division



The Main Prize in the 19th edition of the Science Popularizer competition was awarded to the Education and Training Division Team at NCBJ. The award was given "For their longstanding contributions to popularizing knowledge about ionizing radiation, radioactivity, nuclear energy, and natural radioactivity. These efforts are of particular significance in the context of implementing Poland's energy transformation program." The competition has been organized for almost 20 years by the Polish Press Agency. In previous years, the institute and its employees have been nominated and awarded multiple times.

The application for this year's awarded Education and Training Division (DEiS) at NCBJ, founded by the late Professor Ludwik Dobrzyński, best describes their longstanding activities:

The Education and Training Division (DEiS) at NCBJ focuses on disseminating knowledge about ionizing radiation, radioactivity, nuclear energy (beyond just nuclear power), and the micro-world of physics in general, with a special emphasis on nuclear physics. They also popularize knowledge about natural radioactivity, showcasing how naturally radioactive materials and cosmic radiation are encountered in everyday life. Additionally, they present information about the application of ionizing radiation in medicine and technology, as well as the scientific achievements of NCBJ employees.

As part of their activities, the DEiS team facilitates visits to research laboratories at NCBJ for interested individuals. They co-organize visits to the MARIA research reactor, the Laboratory for Materials Research and Dosimetric Measurements, and other units at NCBJ. Unfortunately, due to restrictions, the intensity of these activities has decreased.

In 2018, on behalf of NCBJ, the DEiS team coordinated the organization of "Open Days at NCBJ." In 2023, they prepared 10 films showcasing the work of scientists from selected NCBJ departments. DEiS employees actively participate in science picnics and science festivals, as well as coordinate the involvement of NCBJ employees from other departments. DEiS has been developing a program of lending simple ionizing radiation detectors for conducting experiments in schools where groups of interested students have been formed. A didactic set was created to explain radioactive phenomena and the construction and operation principles of ionizing radiation detectors. To support and facilitate the use of the detectors, a dedicated website was created, featuring educational materials such as workshop scenarios, lesson plans for teachers, project inspirations, as well as PDF instructions and instructional videos. Educational workshops are organized both in-person and online. For those who wish to delve deeper into the nature of radiation, DEiS enables them to conduct experiments in the unique European-scale Laboratory of Atomic and Nuclear Physics.

DEiS co-organizes (together with IF PAN) the nationwide student competition "Physical Paths." In this competition, students can test their skills in realizing physics-related projects. It is worth emphasizing that this is a competition that rewards creative work—it is not about solving tasks but about one's own interpretation of physics. The competition is organized in three categories: participants can pose and then solve a scientific problem, execute a demonstration illustrating or presenting a physical law or phenomenon, or submit an essay—a literary work dedicated to physics.

Together with other units from both within and outside NCBJ, DEiS participates in informational campaigns related to the broad field of energy and nuclear technology—such as the GoHTR program, dedicated to the introduction of high-temperature nuclear reactor technology into economic circulation, which can be used not only as a source of electricity but also for process heat in various industrial applications. In addition to their popularization activities, DEiS also carries out training activities.

A detailed description of the activities conducted by the DEiS team can be found on their website at: https://www.ncbj.gov.pl/deis.


Zespół Działu Edukacji i Szkoleń NCBJ (Foto: Andrzej Bigos / NCBJ)