Paella, Gaudí and beach. The holy trinity that once made Barcelona a planetary tourist magnet, as Joan Subirats, Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education, Science and Community recalled this Monday. But another, radically different and much less public, is pushing to put the Catalan capital on the continental map: science, research and universities.

“There we are above Madrid, according to the list of ‘Nature’, and only behind Paris, Berlin and Munich”, has sentenced the councilor. This classification of the prestigious magazine allowed Subirats to underpin, the day before its second edition begins, the bet of the Biennial Ciutat i Ciència.

If the classification were measured by the events scheduled from Tuesday to Sunday, surely Barcelona is on the way to get on the podium: more than 250 activities, with 300 speakers, in 40 spaces of the city between its own program and the of the + Biennial, in charge of other entities and facilities of the city. And with the idea, not only because of the limits set by the pandemic, of opening science to people with the celebration in the open air of that almost endless list of activities.

Come on, as in the agoras of the cities of ancient Greece. “We have the will to democratize science, to promote citizen science. You don’t have to go through any door to find yourself with knowledge ”, emphasizes Subirats. That freedom is earned, yes, with a prior registration, Since the capacity ranges from 70 squares in the courtyard of the Biomedical Research Park to 200 in Plaça de Joan Coromines or the gardens of the Casa de la Misericordia.

Even a play
To detail the list of speakers would be cumbersome, but it is written that it goes from a Nobel Peace Prize winner (Ernest Kahan) to an astronaut (Ellen S. Baker) through an astrobiologist (Sara Walker), a bioinformatician (Michael Levin) or a philosopher (Julian Savulescu). There will also be no lack of a play by Àlex Rigola in the Goya, ‘Aquest País no descobert que no deixa de les seves fronteres cap dels seus viatgers’, and his debate on death.

Barcelona is committed to science and thought. The sentence, not literal, is from Subirats, recalling that the second edition of the Biennial of Pensament was also held in October . The bet is specified with a budget of 660,000 euros for this edition of the Biennial Ciutat i Ciència, when in 2019 it was 400,000.

So determined is the intention that, the mayor considers, goes beyond who is in charge of the municipal government. The Biennial is here to stay. “It is a subject in which this city has to be a reference, and that connects with the Smart City and accompanies congresses such as Mobile”, he points out. “Barcelona must have a science policy, we do not have the competence, but we do have the responsibility.”

That the will is transversality and citizen science shows that the program will open with a meeting with schools on information and communication technologies and biomedicine in the interior of the island of Agustí Centelles (Dreta de l’Eixample).

“There will be no opening or closing ceremony”, clarifies Subirats. The Nit de la Ciència, on Saturday in El Born, and the Festa de la Ciència, which will reach its 14th edition on Sunday in Barceloneta, will put the ‘the end’ of the Biennial very close to the beach.

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