In our 5 questions series we talk to our the people who run Pint of Science in different countries. Today we meet Daniela Domingues who is Director of Pint of Science Portugal.
1. What’s your background, who are you?
Hey! I am Daniela and I am a people lover. I love my family, my friends, the friends of my friends and new people.
I am also a neuroscientist. Recently, I have been particularly interested in translational neuroscience. I am fascinated by how the brain works and stops working and how it can be the gate for someone's thoughts and personality.
I am currently working at Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon but I was born "tripeira" (in Porto) and I am super proud of it!
2. How did you hear about Pint of Science and what made you decide that you needed to bring this to your country / run this nationally?
I heard about Pint of Science when I was doing my very first internship abroad, in the United Kingdom. I was going out of King's College London when I saw this poster about discussing science over a beer and I thought "why not?" and what a good thought I had!
That afternoon I end up in a random pub, in a city I barely knew, having lots of fun! This was my first Pint of Science session.
I knew I had to bring the same concept to Portugal. After all, we are a country where the best discussions happen around a beer (at least with friends)!
One year later, I was not in London but in Stockholm, I was contacted by Elodie [International Director] and I knew I wanted to push the project forward.
Now in Lisbon, I feel really happy every time I remember that "random" poster which crossed my eyes two years ago.
3. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in Pint of Science?
Pint of Science is about bringing science to the world, it's about deconstructing concepts and making the discussion available to everyone. Here, in Portugal, it is not difficult to have successful events in big cities like Porto or Lisbon where science is a topic of discussion already.
What is challenging is to try to bring Pint of Science to small cities where science is not a reality.
We already faced this challenge in Portugal and we want to face it again and make science approachable to all the Portuguese. Nevertheless, small cities have their own microenvironment and so, the entire advertising, preparation and construction of the festival in those cities really need to be a perfect fit. That extra work is what makes the difference between people embracing it or not and that is, for sure, a challenge!
4. Tell us about a Pint of Science event or experience that really moved you and why?
There were two moments which really made me smile with my heart when I was organizing the Pint of Science Festival! The first one was having people asking to enter full bars even when there was no place with good visibility available. Receiving a "thank you" at the end of the event from people for giving them the opportunity to attend the event was really warm.
The second one was as beautiful but a bit funnier! Here in Portugal, when possible, we try to run different sessions of the festival at different times. In the same day, you can have an event starting at 19h, other at 20h and, for example, another at 21h.
This system allows people with different schedules to participate in the festival and, if you are really a big fan, to participate in two sessions on the same day.
I remember being at a bar, where the session had already started for a few minutes and seeing a couple arriving gasping and talking really fast.
I got a bit tense with the situation but in the end, everything was fine. They were just coming from a previous Pint of Science session and were in a hurry not to be late to the one which was starting. I learned after that this happened because they were a couple with different interests. It was lovely to see how Pint of Science could support them both!
5. What’s your favourite science subject and which drink would you pair it with?
Brains! I love brains. I love to study them, I love to talk to them. Brains are amazing!There is so much we still need to discover about brains. There are so many different brains around. And that's why I need to pick two drinks here: coffee and beer.
Coffee to have a deep scientific discussion with my colleagues at work.
Beer to have a more Pint of Science style conversation with my friends.
Being surrounded by people who are constantly mentally stimulating you is really a privilege we scientists have at our work (me included!).
At the same time, I also feel super lucky to have so many curious friends who can ask me the most "out of the box" questions and make me think differently and laugh about a topic I deal everyday.
Bonus question: what do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy a good movie at home but also a party in the woods.
Pint of Science Portugal can be found at pintofscience.pt