Soapbox Science in Cologne


Nine enthusiastic female scientists presented their projects in the center of Cologne.

For the fifth time in a row, CEPLAS has co-hosted the local event Soapbox Science Rheinland together with the Excellence Clusters ML4Q and CECAD. This years’ event was held in the lively public square near Neumarkt, right in the heart of Cologne,

In classic Soapbox Science style, this years’ speakers climbed onto a wooden box and presented their research in an accessible manner, using just a few carefully chosen props to provide clear illustrations. Many visitors stopped, listened to the short pitches and engaged in conversation with the researchers. 

At the event’s info point, visitors also received additional background information on the event and promotional material from the participating institutions.

This year, CEPLAS doctoral student Susanne Vollmer (HHU) also participated as a speaker offering insights into her plant research. Adopting an innovative approach, she introduced her hand puppet Anja to help illustrate her points. She also had brought along two amaranth plants and was able to vividly explain the advantages of their red color and discussed why not all plants exhibit this trait.

The speakers were surprised by the positive feedback and the keen interest shown by the audience. Susanne Vollmer summarized her impressions after the event: "It was an exciting experience for me to talk about my research in this unfamiliar setting. I had a lot of fun and I find it motivating to experience how interested many of the listeners are in our research".

Soapbox Science is a public science communication event promoting women and non-binary scientists and the science they do. CEPLAS is supporting the event, as this can be a great opportunity for female* researchers to present their research to a broader public and disseminate science in an accessible and engaging way. At the same time this is a great platform to increase the visibility of women and non-binary persons in science and challenge some of the stereotypes and preconceptions about who a scientist is.