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  'Science - idea in practice'

Ludwik Hirszfeld, a distinguished Polish doctor, microbiologist and immunologist, once said, that the best microscope will not contribute to the scientific progress if it is kept in the closet. Paraphrasing his words, we could add that the most interesting scientific research is conducted in secret, behind the closed doors of laboratories, and no one knows anything about it. It was probably the idea of the organizers of the 5th Photo Competition 'Science on camera', which, this year, is titled 'Science - idea in practice'.
Idea is a philosophical concept. It is one of the main terms in philosophy introduced by Plato and understood by him as an immaterial being which is not directly given to us. Seemingly it is contradictory to 'practice', i.e. conscious purposeful actions done regularly, experience or a skill acquired thanks to such actions. And the progress of science is based on formulating hypotheses which then are verified in experiments. Throughout the whole history of human civilisation we can observe a certain regularity. First comes amazement, even bewilderment with the world, its beauty, and its mechanisms. People who popularise science call it the 'wow effect'. Then come questions: how it works and why? And human beings try to understand the laws governing the nature. Maybe they do so to be able to create on their own. Hence, at the beginning there is always an idea, verified by practice i.e. experiments.
The projects submitted for the competition document incredible research works, representing various branches of science, conducted in various corners of the Earth - from Tajikistan, through the Caucasus, Iceland, glaciers of Arctic, villages of Armenia, the starry sky over the Andes, to the coral reefs of West Africa. All there, as well as in laboratories in Krakow, Warsaw, or Sosnowiec, scientists test their ideas in practice. Photographs document their struggles and the sheer beauty of the incredible and unique phenomena and laws of nature they delve into. They look with the telescope far into the stars, and with the microscope in the depths of the microworld. In the photographs we can see smokes of volcanoes and limbs of shrimps, icebergs and tangled polymer fibres, embryos of bean and the starry sky. The submitted works show how complex and mysterious the world is. Both the world within our grasp and the remote one, far beyond the boundaries of our galaxy. They prove that we are still the explorers, with heads full of ideas, which just wait for us to say 'Call'.

Agnieszka Sikora
Department of Information and Promotion
University of Silesia in Katowice