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Explaining? Communicating? Slamming!

18/2012, 22.05.2012

On the occasion of the first BfR Science Slam, BfR scientists compete for the most entertaining presentation of their research

On 31 May 2012 at 08:00 pm, a Science Slam of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment will take place for the first time ever in the ruins of the Museum of Medical History of the Charité, in the Mitte district of Berlin. As part of this science competition, scientists share their passion for research with a large audience. Scientific insights and issues with relevance to consumer health protection are presented in an entertaining and informative way. At this event, anything goes! Films, pictures, objects. The aim is to win the support of the audience, for the spectators select the best slammer of the evening! “The BfR Science Slam is at the same time a form of knowledge transfer and publicity for crazy science!” explains BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. The event is presented by Dr. Mark Benecke, a criminal biologist and author.

BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Hensel will set the scene for the BfR Science Slam with his lecture “Me, the Kitchen Bitch, and My Struggle against the Mean Killer Cloth - Entities of Infection Epidemiology”. As the featured scientist, Hensel starts outside the competition. The task of the feature scientist is to get the audience in the mood.

Eight BfR scientists will then vie for audience approval. The scientists will compete against each other with short lectures. Each one has ten minutes in which to communicate to the audience something about the nature of their research. Topics covered include “Risk and Mathematics - A Symphony of Horror”, “Take Me to the Danger Zone - Risk Perception and Communication” and “Why Tattooed People Should Have Sex Less Often”. The goal is to communicate complex scientific information in the appealing and interesting way of popular science. It is all about making science easy to understand and to give an entertaining presentation which can be anything except boring. The intensity of the audience’s applause decides who wins the “science battle”. The winner is selected at the end of the evening.

Underlying the idea of the BfR Science Slam is the statutory mandate of the BfR to provide transparency and to communicate risks arising from food, cosmetic products, toys, packaging and chemicals in such a way that laypersons can easily understand them. With this scientific exchange of blows, the institute strives to go beyond its everyday life and present its work to the public in an entertaining manner. The aim is to stimulate interest in the research and diverse topics with which the BfR is concerned. This first BfR Science Slam takes place in the tenth anniversary year of the institute.

The model for the popular science competition between scientists outside academia is provided by the format of the literary lecture competition, the so-called Poetry Slam.

Bookings for the first BfR Science Slam to be held on 31 May 2012 from 08:00 pm to 10:30 pm in the ruins of the Museum of Medical History of the Charité, Charitéplatz 1 (formerly: Schumannstraße 20/21), in the Mitte District in Berlin, can be made at:

The number of available seats is limited. It is therefore advisable to book in advance. Booking confirmations will be provided as soon as bookings have been received.

The admission charge is € 3.00 and is to be paid on site at the box office.

In case of great demand, the BfR scientist Slam will be video broadcast to the neighbouring Pathology Lecture Theatre of the Charité. The lecture hall is situated on the Charité Campus, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin. Within the campus, the lecture hall is signposted as CCM, Virchowweg 4.

An unabridged version of the competition will subsequently be available online.

About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the BfR, the institute has published an anniversary brochure. Beside examples from 10 years of scientific work in the service of consumer health protection, the 43-page brochure also contains background information on the institute, its working method and history. The brochure “10 Years of BfR” can be downloaded or ordered free of charge at


Publications - Brochures

Date Title Size
BfR Anniversary Brochure
10th Anniversary of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment 4.0 MB