Share on

About the author

Nuno Bacharel
Nuno Bacharel

As promised I´m writing you from ESOF 2014, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s  fantastic to see so many  science  enthusiasts sharing their expertise and views  in a place  with such a long  history: the Carlsberg Brewery district!

In addition to ESOF2014 with more than 120 sessions divided between science, policy, and business and career, Copenhagen is this year’s  City of Science, with many events and exhibitions taking place in every corner.

To us science lovers, ESOF is without doubt the World Cup of Science!

If you couldn´t make it this year, let me share some highlights from ESOF with you – if you want to know more follow our Live tweeting here.

Opening ceremony

IMG_4023The official go-ahead for the conference took place on Sunday. The full auditorium had the pleasure of hearing  Margarethe II, Queen of Denmark. In a short speech, she mentioned the importance of science  for the future and the pleasure of hosting such an event in Copenhagen. After her it was time for José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, to say a few  words about the importance of research and innovation in Europe. After referring to  the investments that were made in  research and development  under   EU funding programme Horizon2020, he pointed out the problem of gender balance  in science “We must also adapt our culture so that women are better represented in research and science, another matter close to my heart: indeed, whilst women hold 45% of all PhDs in Europe, they only represent 30% of career researchers”. Barroso concluded his speech saying that “The future of Europe is science!”

The ceremony continued  with folk music and more speeches  from Sofie Carsten Nielsen, Danish Minister for Higher Education,  Euroscience president Lauritz Holm-Nielsen and  ESOF2014 champion Klaus Bock, and a discussion between particle physicists Fabiola Gianotti and Rolf-Dieter Heuer of CERN.

 “From Beer Came the pH Scale”

IMG_4061Did you know that the pH scale was developed by Soren Sorensen at the Carlsberg lab in 1909?

To celebrate the remarkable story of the pH scale, Diane Fresquez,  an American journalist and author of the book ‘The Taste of Molecules’, invited Prof. Dr. Jürgen Wendland, of the Carlsberg Laboratory to answers some questions about the fascinating world of pH.

The pH scale is nowadays used all over the globe in education, research, industry and health, and it is amazing the information that a pH scale can give us. pH is a measure of acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of a solution and  a mathematical equation of the activity of dissolved hydrogen in that solution.

During the session we measured the pH of different products and of course some beers. For example  Carlsberg beer has a pH of 4,5, according to Prof. Dr. Jürgen Wendland; this pH ensures the right concentration of sugars and acids.


Science Communications and Social Media

IMG_4005During the open ceremony Barroso highlighted the fact that “media and science communicators have a key role in  spreading the message about the importance of science to the general public”, and that was the main topic of this session.

Mark Lorch – an active scientist-blogger (blog on The Guardian), Richard Van Noorden, journalist and blogger at Nature, and Jacopo Pasotti led  the discussion on how  to improve the way we do communications. Blogs and social media were mentioned as a powerful tool to help communicators get  their stories spread.

It is important that scientists connect with the public, and for this they should use  clear language and engage in  social media.

Are you doing this already? If not you can join our contributors group, and share your stories on chemistry and sustainability using our channels!


We have also attended the sessions “Sustainable Solutions Urbanisation, megacities and infrastructures”, “Environmental change: how do economies, societies and individuals react” and “New trends in international science policy” but   I’ll do other blog post about these.

If you want to know more please follow our live tweeting at and you can take a look at our photos here.