Dr. Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim mastered reaching a broad audience by approaching scientific topics as entertaining and informative. To credit her work as a scientist she received the engineering price of the city of Aachen (“Aachener Ingenieurpreis”) on September third.
“Science for everyone” is Dr Nguyen-Kim’s principle, as she reaches an especially young audience with her YouTube content on “maiLab” or tv shows such as “MAITHINK X” and “Quarks & co”. She informs the audience about facts while sparking their enthusiasm for science. Additionally, she wrote two bestseller books “komisch alles chemisch” (weird everything chemistry) and “die kleinste gemeinsame Wirklichkeit” (the smallest common reality).
Terminology builds walls
Although it is hard to convey information coherently to everyone, Nguyen-Kim is doing it successfully. The scientific journalist Ranga Yogeshwar underlines the importance of her work, as he argues how intelligible explaining is beneficial in science. Technical language excludes people. Even scientists among each other might be excluded from scientific conversation due to terminology. Communicating scientific knowledge in a comprehensible way should be a skill obtained in university.
Ranga Yogewshar and Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim both received their PhD at the RWTH Aachen. Therefore, a short film was shown portraying different parts of the awardee’s life as a student.
On stage RWTH chemist Eric Siemens demonstrated in a dialogue with Thora Schubert, how science can be mediated comprehensible. The Merle Böwering Trio catered for music in the evening.
Appreciating communication in science
The award ceremony, created by the RWTH and the City of Aachen, was created to appreciate a person that sets scientific impulses for technology, economy and society. This year the awardee strays a bit from the engineering sciences and is closer to scientific communication in general.