Starmus VII – a celebration of science and music in Bratislava

12.-17. in May, Bratislava was the place where the world's scientific and musical elite met. After big cities like Zurich, Trondheim, or La Palma in Mallorca, Spain, the Starmus festival came to us and brought incredible world-class experiences. The Starmus International Festival is the largest scientific popularization event of its kind and aims to connect science, music, and art. It was founded by astrophysicist and musician Garik Israelian and Queen guitarist astrophysicist Sir Brian May.
The theme of the seventh year of the festival was the climate crisis and AI technologies.
The Bratislava 5-day program started with a spectacular opening concert by the French musician and electronic music composer Jean Michel Jarré. The concert, "Bridge from the Future," which was attended by almost one hundred thousand spectators, enthralled those present with an incredible laser show with drones, the likes of which Slovakia has never experienced. Brian May and other musicians also performed at the concert.
The program was divided into several parts, taking place in several places in the capital.
The Tipos Aréna hockey stadium was the place where the lectures of the world's leading scientific capacities were held, such as Jane Goodall, an expert in chimpanzee research, gave a lecture on Reasons for Hope; another great speaker was Kip Thorne, an American theoretical physicist, a long-time friend and colleague of Stephen Hawking or Michael Mayor, Swiss astrophysicist and professor emeritus at the University of Geneva and many others.
The STARMUS City Program included more than 20 exclusive lectures at Slovak universities and the Slovak Academy of Sciences.
The SAS welcomed four renowned experts to its premises - Bernhard Schölkopf, who is dedicated to machine learning and causal inference; Michel Mayor, winner of the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the first exoplanet; climatologist Maureen Raymo, who is dedicated to the history and causes of climate change in her research, and Chris Rapley CBE, who is Professor of Climate Science at University College London. The lectures were fascinating, and there was massive interest in them from the ranks of scientists from the SAS, external science enthusiasts, and students.
Another program attraction was the Science Camp STARMUS Camp, held on the Main Square and open to the public. The Slovak Academy of Sciences, the highest scientific institution in Slovakia, represented Slovak science here for five days through its scientific workplaces. During the festival's second day (May 14, 2024), the Institute of Materials and Machine Mechanics SAV, v.v.i. The honor to present the institute and the research results of its scientific workplaces to the general public.
Scientists from the detached INOVAL workplace explained to visitors the possibilities of using foamed aluminum in industry. They could touch real products, such as an engine mount for a passenger car, which was made using this technique. A great attraction was also a practical demonstration of aluminum foaming, which also attracted the attention of an important visitor to our stand - MŠVVaM State Secretary Róbert Zsembera, who watched the transformation of the material with interest
dr. Peter Krížik from the Division of New Materials and Technologies showed science enthusiasts products made by powder metallurgy; he also presented an innovative bioresorbable composite material for the application of dental implants.
Dr. Naďa Beronská, Dr. Marek Gebura, and other colleagues represented the Division of Microstructures of Surfaces and Interfaces. During the afternoon, they impressed the spectators with their project of production and recycling in orbit, which aligns with the European Space Agency's (ESA) vision for a sustainable circular economy in space.
Dr. Kateryna Kamyshnykova explained to the visitors the latest research results of the Division of Properties of Materials and Constructions, such as TiAl-based alloys that offer promising potential for high-temperature structural applications due to their lightweight nature and mechanical solid performance at elevated temperatures, making them suitable for aerospace, energy and automotive applications, as well as using destructive and non-destructive material analysis methods.
The exceptional atmosphere of the festival and the presentations of dozens of world personalities created an environment for sharing scientific knowledge and inspiring opinions, a place where we could gain a new perspective on current topics that resonate in society. We believe that not only we but everyone who participated in the festival took away many experiences and inspiration for life and everyday work.